Georgia Supreme Court recently passed an order that may consider drawing blood from an individual that the officer suspects of driving drunk unconstitutional and a violation of Fourth Amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment states that law enforcement must have reasonable cause to search a person. It must be readily apparent that the person being stopped is engaging or is about to engage in some sort of criminal activity. For certain offenses, officers must also obtain a search warrant in order to proceed.
Implied consent laws—right or wrong?
In the past, those who were pulled over for DUI and refused to submit to a blood or breath test to measure their alcohol level can be automatically slapped with penalties.
These are the penalties under the implied consent law:
- License suspension for up to 1 year for the first offense
- Fines, including costs of license reinstatement
- The refusal may be used against you at trial
- Participation in a drug and alcohol counseling program
The implied consent law was challenged in a case from 2012, Williams vs. The State. In this case, the defendant was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, where the officer led him to believe that submitting to the blood test would be required. Later on, during his trial, he contended that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated during the arrest.
There are only some offenses that do not require a warrant to search someone. However, the defendant actually agreed to submit only after he was informed of the implied consent law. This means that the defendant had not actually given consent because he was not acting of his own free will.
Case Escalated to Appeals
While the defendant did submit to the blood test, which did prove his culpability. The county judge presiding over the case also deemed the case had validity, thanks, in part, to the blood test.
Yet, when the case was brought to appeal in a higher court, the judge disagreed. He stated that the implied consent law is indeed, a violation of Fourth Amendment right. Drawing blood, he noted, was considered “searching” for evidence. That is why the courts ruled the logic of the actual consent being unequal to implied consent, thus allowing the motion for appeal to move forward.
Know your rights—contact our Atlanta DUI lawyer!
The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson handles DUI-related cases all throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. Not only is it our job to remain as up-to-date as possible on all of the laws concerning DUI, it is our job to protect you from the law when you need it. Remember that if your rights were violated, you can fight back!
Schedule a free case consultation with us today about your DUI case and let us see how we can help.