Recent changes to Georgia’s implied consent law mean that officials may not use a motorist’s refusal to submit a breath sample as evidence of driving under the influence. Prosecutors could, however, use a refusal to provide a blood sample as evidence to convict a driver of DUI, as reported by WRCBtv.com.
Law enforcement officials may stop motorists for traffic violations such as speeding. With reason to suspect alcohol may have contributed to a violation, an officer may ask you to submit a breath test. Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you may refuse the request.
Breath Tests Fall Under the Fifth Amendment in Georgia
As described by the National Institutes of Health, an officer performs a breath test with a handheld device about the size of a cell phone. A test result may show a “zero,” “pass” or “fail.”
Motorists place their mouths onto an opening and blow air through it. Because blowing air reflects a verbal action, the Georgia Supreme Court held that you may refuse to give a breath sample. By admitting verbal evidence, the breath test violates your Fifth Amendment rights.
A Blood Test Refusal May Result in a Search Warrant
Although refusing a breath test falls within your Constitutional protections, Georgia law requires providing a blood sample. When an officer requests a blood draw, you must submit to it because the Peach State’s laws consider the action as passive. If you refuse, an officer may use a search warrant to obtain a blood sample through a needle draw.
The Associated Press reports that the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety received a grant to train local officers in drawing blood. With more testing equipment and experienced blood drawers, prosecutors may receive a higher volume of evidence for DUI convictions.