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Georgia DUI charges: forced blood samples taken from suspects

Certain Georgia counties are requiring drivers to submit to blood tests in lieu of a Breathalyzer test. An April U.S. Supreme Court decision has allowed police to get search warrants to take blood as evidence to be used later in the prosecution of DUI charges. According to the ruling, Georgia police officers can draw blood forcibly when they have this kind of warrant.

At this time, only certain counties in Georgia are carrying out forced blood draws. However, a local TV news station recently showed footage of people accused of DUI being strapped down onto gurneys and having their blood taken. In the footage, a suspect is yelling in protest that he is an American citizen, while asking what country he is in.

One county sheriff defended the procedure by saying that if the drivers are guilty, they will have to face the consequences; and if they are not, then they will not be found guilty. The Supreme Court ruling comes in the wake of complaints by law enforcement personnel facing DUI suspects in the field that refused to take a breath test. Now, the officers can draw blood instead. 

What officers can and cannot do in Georgia to gather evidence to support DUI charges is constantly changing. As citizens, we must stay apprised of these changes so that if we are arrested, we know our legal rights. On occasion, a police officer may overstep his or her bounds in collecting evidence. In such incidences, laws exist to contest any evidence that has been obtained inappropriately.

Source: opposingviews.com, "Georgia DUI Suspects Subjected To Forcible Blood Draws," Evan Bleier, June 28, 2013