GA Supreme Court overturns implied consent - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA Supreme Court overturns implied consent

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October 6, 2003

Albany- Every crash that sends someone to the hospital requires drivers to be tested for DUI or face the loss of driving privileges for a year. The Supreme court says that's unconstitutional.

"I tend to be very supportive of the concept that a driver's license is a privilege not a guarantee and not a right, and that people are issued a driver's license know in advance that there are rules and regulations to follow and that most assuredly driving under the influence is one of those," says Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled the law authorized a search and seizure without probable cause, a direct departure from the 14th amendment.

"This is probably going to at least create some difficulty in successful prosecution of cases, but in the long haul we'll just have to wait and see how it works out," Cheek says.

Still, law enforcement officials say it probably won't effect the number of prosecutions because majority of DUI stops do not involve serious injuries or fatalities.

The Supreme Court contends the primary purpose of the implied consent law is to gather evidence for criminal prosecution.

Posted at 5:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com