A new DUI law in the state of Georgia prevents law enforcement officers from telling drivers that refusing to take a breathalyzer test can be used against them as evidence in court.
House Bill 471 changes the informed consent language that police officers give to suspected intoxicated drivers after they are pulled over and investigated. Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill into law in Savannah on Sunday, April 28, 2019.
The bill comes on the heels of a decision in February from the Georgia Supreme Court that invalidated prior law that held that refusal of a breathalyzer could be used against a person as evidence in a DUI trial. The Supreme Court ruled that using this evidence of refusal violated a defendant's Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Officers are still allowed to require blood and urine tests through a warrant procedure, or drivers are still allowed to voluntarily take breathalyzer tests.
This new law helps to protect the rights of those who have been arrested and charged with DUI. If you or someone you care about has been charged with a Georgia DUI, an experienced Gwinnett County DUI attorney can defend your case and protect your rights.
Breathalyzer Tests in Georgia
Breathalyzer tests are not known for their accuracy, and an inaccurate reading can lead to a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol even when the driver was perfectly sober and could legally drive. This "mistake" by an inaccurate machine could have a devastating effect on your life and your freedoms.
Most law enforcement officers and departments in Georgia use the Intoxilyzer 9000 to test the breath of suspected drunk drivers. The Intoxilyzer 9000 breath test replaced the old Intoxilyzer 5000 breath testing devices. The "newer" devices have been in use for many years now, and so we are able to see more and more of the flaws associated with its use.
One of the issues with the Intoxilyzer 9000 is that the company which created it refuses to release the source code for how the device operates, how it measures, and what the error rate is. Without this information, it is incredibly difficult to know if the machine is reading any more accurately than other models, which are known to be inaccurate.
Defending Your DUI Case in Georgia
There are many different ways to defend your DUI case, which can lead to a reduction in the severity of your charges or even a downright dismissal. All of this depends on the facts of your particular case, so consultation with an experienced attorney is essential.
Defenses include, but are not limited to:
- the reasons for the initial stop were invalid;
- the DUI roadside checkpoint did not meet constitutional standards;
- the breathalyzer was not appropriately maintained;
- field sobriety tests employed were done improperly;
- the officer was not properly trained to use the breathalyzer; or
- an unreasonable and unconstitutional search was performed on your person or in your vehicle.
Consult a Gwinnett County DUI Attorney
Just because you are charged with a Georgia DUI does not mean that you are guilty. An experienced Gwinnett County DUI attorney can present defenses on your behalf to defend your constitutional rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.