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New laws affect searches of drunk driving suspects in Georgia

Defendants in criminal proceedings are presumed innocent until found guilty through legal means. This principle is the underpinning ethic of United States law as well as state legislation in Atlanta. A new interpretation of this principle is bringing changes to Georgia's laws on driving under the influence of alcohol.

The previous version of the DUI law included the idea of implied consent, which held that driving in Georgia meant a person consented to a search that would uncover or prevent drunk driving. This meant that law enforcement officers could hold a driver's refusal to take a breath test for blood alcohol level, often called a Breathalyzer, against them in court. However, the Supreme Court in Atlanta ruled last month that this is unconstitutional because people have the right to not incriminate themselves.

Within weeks, the Georgia State Senate and the House of Representatives also voted on new legislation which altered sections of the DUI law struck down by the court. The House bill also applies to boat operators and hunters who may be suspected of illegal drunkenness. Prosecutors warned police across the Peach State that warrants for blood and urine tests will now be required more often.

People suspected of drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs have rights that they do not lose or give away because of a traffic stop or criminal charges. It is difficult to defend oneself against any sort of criminal charges, and no one should go through it alone. An attorney can be very helpful when considering a defense against drunk driving charges.

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