Police can not compel blood or urine samples - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police can not compel blood or urine samples

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Albany -- The Georgia Supreme Court says Police can not force DUI suspects to give blood samples. Prosecutors say they are shocked the Supreme Court would weaken their battle against drunk drivers.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state's implied consent law had been taken too far. The Court said police can not force you to give blood or urine tests. Even though it will be tougher, prosecutors say they will continue to enforce D.U.I. laws.

The Georgia Supreme Court said a person's refusal to take a state administered blood or urine test did not authorize a search warrant to forcibly conduct such tests. District Attorney Ken Hodges said, "When we get in the courtroom, the jury is going to wonder why we did not present evidence of what their blood alcohol was. You know, the point oh eight or more. And we're not going to have that."

Defense Attorney Pete Donaldson said the Supreme Court made the right decision. Donaldson said "It's a search and seizure issue, a privacy issue. The Supreme Court followed the law as it's written."

If you refuse to provide the samples, the law still says you forfeit your drivers license for a year. Donaldson said "You could still be prosecuted for the DUI, and the fact that you refused the test goes before the jury."

Officers can still conduct roadside sobriety tests, like walking a straight line or saying the alphabet. And they can video tape those tests and testify about them in court. But blood tests, which have been routine in serious DUI cases, will be voluntary. Hodges hopes lawmakers will amend the law.

Hodges said, " A law can be drawn, and should be drawn, to protect the citizens of this state from people driving while impaired."

The implied consent decision came in a North Georgia case, where Steven Collier drove his pickup truck through a red light, killing two people in a car with which he collided.

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