When the Decision by the Georgia Supreme court first came out in Elliott v. State, see our previous post here, it appeared that the state was going to have an issue with implied consent in Georgia. Almost immediately, the legislature began “reacting” to attempt their fix on the issue. I previously wrote a blog about this bill when it was first suggested which can be read here and goes over all the portions of this bill (SEE OUR POST HERE). The bill, House Bill 471, has had many revisions to get to its final draft. Whether it will pass muster will be seen in courts all over the state in the coming months.
On April 29, 2019 Governor Kemp signed the bill making it a law and officially made the measures that the legislature is attempting to use the new law for implied consent as reported by WSBTV and AJC.
So, why is this so important for a DUI defense? As discussed before, much discourse has been given that the language used in the breath test in itself is a compulsion to incriminate yourself and isn't really an option. That YOU are performing an affirmative act when you are asked to blow into a intoxilyzer which in turn will assist the state in prosecuting YOUR Georgia Driving Under the Influence case. This portion of the implied consent was changed from "will be used against you" to "may be used against you," which the legislature thinks will make the statute less coercive and give drivers a choice. This is a position that will be tested by attorneys, regarding a DUI arrest, all over Georgia in the coming months.
The legislature changed key words on the implied consent statute, which is to be read to someone when they are arrested for DUI, that instead of the evidence “will be used at trial” that it “may be used against you.” The position will be that because of the language the statute will now no longer be affirmative but will give the driver a choice.
DOES THIS AFFECT MY DUI CASE?
Every DUI case is different because not two sets of facts are the same. Application of the above case law to your situation would take examination of the facts surrounding your case and applying this case law properly to create a properly mounted defense for YOUR arrest. The prior case law may be applicable if you were arrested prior to the change of the implied consent statute, or, especially, if the officer reads the wrong implied consent notice to you.
Our office has 24 hour response lines and can answer your questions and help you. Give our team of DUI defense lawyers a call at 404-445-8494. We can help you mount a proper defense for your situation.