The question of warrantless searches of someone perceived to be impaired has been one drawing quite a lot of controversy and discussion for a while. Georgians may have heard that earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court was reported to have heard several different points regarding the issue. The decision at hand would be whether or not to permit officials to conduct such searches as a blood test without obtaining a warrant for the search first. This case, expected to have a decision come mid-2013, could have the potential to affect certain DUI situations in the future.
The deliberation this week came from a case of a man who had opted to refuse a breath test after being pulled over for suspected drunk driving. The man also reportedly already had two prior convictions regarding drunk driving at the time of being pulled over. It was noted by one source that in some locations, should someone decline to acquiesce to a blood or breath test, they may have their driving license revoked for as long as a year. In the state where this case comes from, the penalty would only be 30 days for someone with no prior convictions of drunk driving.
This case in particular poses an interesting perspective on the ability for someone to refuse a breath test or blood test. Furthermore, it is possible that such unwillingness could be used in a trial of the criminal charges against the suspect, regardless of what how the test may have resulted. As the Supreme Court continues to hear arguments on the case, those who have been involved in a similar situation may wish to follow along in order to see how it turns out.
For a Georgia resident who has had DUI charges brought against them, understanding your rights and the legalities of the situation would be in your best interest. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney could serve to help you know all of your options going forward and, if convicted, possibly receive a sentence more appropriate to your situation.
Source: The Associated Press, “Court wary of warrantless blood tests in DUI cases,” Mark Sherman, Jan. 9, 2013