What you need to know about the latest Supreme Court DUI ruling

| Sep 27, 2019 | criminal defense |

It can put you on edge if a law enforcement officer pulls you over for a suspected DUI. You may be unclear what your rights are. It may seem confusing when an officer tells you that you must do something or you will be under arrest.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the case State v. Turnquest that changes how a specific DUI law applies. This law is in regard to breath tests and your rights. Here is what you need to know about this ruling.

Implied consent

In Georgia, the implied consent law states you must agree to take a test for alcohol or drugs in your system when asked by an officer. If you refuse to take a test, then you lose your license and go to jail. In addition, that refusal becomes evidence for the prosecution when you go to trial.

The issue of Miranda rights

Most people are familiar with the Miranda warnings (such as the right to remain silent) that an officer must read you once you are detained by police. The issue at the heart of the Turnquest case was whether officers must read your Miranda rights before asking you to take a breath test during a DUI stop. Essentially, the question was whether police have to warn you of your right to perform a potentially incriminating act—the breath test.

The Court held that, in the DUI context, Miranda-like warnings are not required under the Georgia Constitution. A police officer may ask you to take a breath test after an arrest for a DUI without reading your Miranda rights and not violate state law. As long as an officer provides the implied consent warning, you must take a breath test or face the consequences of refusing to do so.