Blood tests for Blood Alcohol Content are becoming more and more common in Georgia. With a new law covering forced blood draws, officers have started collecting blood samples on a regular basis. To make it easier to convict drunk drivers, law enforcement agencies in Georgia contact a State Court judge and ask for a search warrant if they have enough probable cause to establish that a suspect is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Probable cause is typically based on the officer’s observations; if he or she notices slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, open container, or the smell of alcohol, it can be used as evidence.
If a Georgia DUI blood test warrant is obtained by the officer, the blood test will be administered at the jail. Once the blood is drawn, the officer will send the sample to the State Crime lab for analysis. The results of this test, along with the officer’s testimony, will be used as evidence during the DUI case.
If you were arrested for DUIGeorgia and an officer obtained a warrant for your blood test, you should speak with a skilled DUI lawyer as quickly as possible. Even if your BAC was over the legal limit, several potential defensescan help your case. Your lawyer will determine not only if the search warrant was valid but if your test was administered properly.
During most DUI stops, the officer will read the Georgia Implied Consent Warning (on an orange card) in front of his patrol car so the reading of the warning is recorded by a camera installed in his car. A microphone captures not only the reading but also the driver's response.
Once this is done, an officer will usually request a breath test if he suspects it you have only alcohol in your system. A breathalyzer test is the fastest and easiest test at their disposal. However, if an officer has elected to seek a blood test, then it is probably because one of the two following reasons.
- If the officer believes a driver has drugs in his system (prescription or illicit), he will likely ask for a blood alcohol test. He will first ask the driver to voluntarily consent to the blood test within minutes after the arrest.
- If a driver refuses to voluntarily submit to the breath test. In Georgia, drivers have a qualified right to refuse chemical testing once they've been arrested for a DUI.
However, if you refuse, the officer may ask a judge to issue a search warrant to test your blood. This method is gaining popularity throughout Georgia and in some cases law enforcement will conduct roadblocks with a judge on-scene to sign search warrants on the spot.
There are more consequences associated with refusing to take a blood test. Even without the evidence of you BAC, the prosecutor could still try and use your refusal against you in court to try and get a conviction, or try and make you plead guilty, whether you were intoxicated or not.