The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday struck down a portion of the state’s DUI law, ruling that a driver’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test cannot be held against them in criminal court.
The impact was immediate. Hours after the unanimous decision, prosecutors told police they should prepare to seek more warrants for blood and urine tests in order to combat drunk driving. Such a process could be cumbersome, especially in some rural areas of the state, law enforcement officials said. The state Legislature likely will try to rewrite the law to address the court’s concerns.
The justices found that using a driver’s refusal to submit to a breath test against them at trial violates the Georgia Constitution’s protections against self-incrimination. They also affirmed a previous ruling that said it’s unconstitutional to force drivers to take the breath tests.