Georgia Appellate Court Upholds Forced Blood Sample for DUI Arrest

A 3 judge panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals has recently ruled that the driver’s refusal to submit to chemical testing of his blood alcohol level after being arrested for DUI does NOT prohibit the Officer from applying for a search warrant in order to take an involuntary blood sample. McAllister v. State (1/22/2014). On its face, the decision directly conflicts with a 2005 decision from the Georgia Supreme Court holding that the statutory sanctions for the driver’s refusal under the implied consent law did not include being subjected to forced testing of one’s blood. The Court of Appeals reviewed Georgia’s implied consent law, 40-5-67.1, and concluded that even though the driver had the right to refuse the test when asked after arrest, a 2006 amendment to the same statute opened the door for forced testing if the officer applied for a search warrant supported by sufficient probable cause to obtain the warrant. In this case, the Cherokee County Deputy applied for the search warrant and the driver was transported to a local hospital for a forced blood draw. Stay tuned, as this decision will undoubtedly be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court (and perhaps beyond) as this highly controversial application of a search warrant seems to render meaningless the driver’s statutory right to refuse. Have you been arrested for DUI in Columbus, Georgia? CALL Columbus DUI attorney Ted Morgan Law TODAY FOR A CONSULTATION ON YOUR RIGHTS WHEN ARRESTED FOR DUI.
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