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New program allows for quicker blood test warrants in DUI stops

Georgia drivers may wish to be aware of a new statewide program that could expedite the procedure in place for police to force a blood draw when pulling over a person suspected of drunk driving. Through the cooperation of various agencies, the process for receiving a warrant is now quicker than normal.

When a driver is initially stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, they will be subjected to a Breathalyzer test at the scene to measure their blood alcohol content. Refusing a breath test is a possibility, which would then make the officer seek a warrant allowing them to draw blood. Normally, this would take time to obtain. However, a new program has been instituted in Georgia known as Operation Thunder. The initiative involves multiple groups of authorities, including the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and the District General's office in Chatham County.

These authorities are working alongside a County Recorder's Court judge, who will be on call to approve warrants. These quicker warrants will allow police to mandate a blood draw from drivers faster than they would through normal channels should a driver refuse to submit to a breath test. If the person's blood alcohol content is measured at or over .08, they may be facing charges for driving under the influence. The initiative began on July 9 across the state.

In situations like this, an attorney may be able to help a person avoid the potential consequences that come with DUI charges, such as license suspension, heavy fines or even a jail sentence. The attorney may be able to represent the person throughout the DUI defense process. This can include assistance during plea bargaining negotiations or representation before a judge at trial.

Source: WJCL, "Georgia, local agencies to begin forcibly drawing blood from drivers", Ashli Lincoln, July 09, 2014