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Is BAC testing self-incrimination?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2020 | DUI Defense | 0 comments

If a Georgia officer pulls you over for a DUI, you will likely have a request to submit to testing to determine your blood alcohol content. Typically, during a traffic stop, an officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer test. You have the right to refuse, but, according to Coosa Valley News, if you do not take the test, the law says you face an automatic license suspension of at least one year. It also says that the prosecution may use your refusal against you in court. 

It is the last part of that law that did not sit well with people concerned about self-incrimination. It also did not pass the review of the Georgia Supreme Court. The court decided that using a refusal as evidence against someone in court was a violation of the Constitutional right against self-incrimination. 

The court did acknowledge that this might make it more difficult to prosecute such cases, but that it is imperative to uphold civil rights no matter the consequences. The Constitution affords you the right to not testify against yourself or otherwise provide the prosecution with evidence against you. It also protects you from having someone force you into incriminating yourself, which is exactly what this law did. 

It is important to note that the court’s ruling focused only on breathalyzer testing. It did not include blood tests in this decision. It also did not change the law as it stands. That is a power reserved for the legislative branch of the government. This information is for education and is not legal advice.