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Georgia Courts Suppress Blood Tests Where Driver Was Too Drunk To Consent

drunk-1327880After the Georgia Supreme Court ruled this past May that mere compliance with the statutory implied consent law did not, per se, amount to actual and voluntary consent to a blood test, Georgia defense lawyers have been successful in getting evidence thrown out in their clients’ DUI cases under the theory that they were – ironically – too drunk to consent.

In Williams v. State, the defendant appealed his conviction for DUI and failure to maintain lane. The trial court denied his motion to suppress the results of the blood test on the basis that it was obtained without a warrant in contravention of his Fourth Amendment rights. The Georgia Supreme Court vacated the state court judgments and remanded to reconsider the defendant’s suppression motion.

After Williams was arrested in September 2012, the officer read Williams the statutory implied consent notice and requested that Williams submit to blood and urine tests. The officer told Williams that he could answer just by saying yes or no, and Williams said “yes.” The officer did not ask Williams if he was “willing to freely and voluntarily give a test.” After agreeing, Williams was taken to a medical center, where his blood and urine samples were taken.

In denying the motion to suppress, the court expressly rejected Williams’ arguments that statutory implied consent created a Fourth Amendment issue and that statutory consent alone was not a valid exception to the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirement. The state supreme court disagreed with the trial court’s reasoning. Specifically, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the trial court improperly failed to address whether Williams gave “actual consent” to the blood test, which requires a determination of voluntariness under the totality of the circumstances.

Since the ruling, Georgia drivers have been successful in getting their blood tests suppressed based on the theory that they were too drunk to give voluntary consent. Drivers can then return to court and plead not guilty, once the state’s crucial evidence has been suppressed.

The state court judge who suppressed Williams’ blood test on remand has since thrown out the blood tests of five additional drivers. Now called “Williams arguments,” these claims have been successful in three other Georgia counties as well.

Gwinnett County prosecutor Rosanna Szabo has said she will not dismiss any cases just because her evidence was suppressed pursuant to Williams. She’s already decided to appeal the rulings in six cases in which blood tests have been suppressed based on Williams arguments.

If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation to people in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses. To learn more and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-829-8513.

More Blog Posts:

Illinois Affirms Defendant’s DUI Conviction Despite Blood-Alcohol Level Below Legal Limit, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, November 2, 2015.

Illinois Supreme Court Finds Implied Consent Law Unconstitutional As Applied, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, October 6, 2015.

Illinois Gives Four-time DUI Offenders a Second Chance, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, October 2, 2015.

Florida Judge Recommends Permanent Disbarment for Lawyers Involved in DUI Setup, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, September 10, 2015.

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