DUI Informed Consent: U.S. Supreme Court Considering Unique Issue

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

The United States Supreme Court is getting ready to decide a unique issue relating to drivers suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. This determination could greatly affect the rights of Georgia residents accused of DUI.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI in Georgia, understanding the law is an important part of protecting yourself from unfair criminal prosecution. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney is here to help. You do not have to face this process alone.

Mitchell v. Wisconsin

Mitchell v. Wisconsin is a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration of an issue that could have a significant impact on the rights of those accused of DUI in the future.

In that case, Gerald P. Mitchell was arrested after he was allegedly drinking and driving. As a result of his intoxication, he passed out and was unconscious when law enforcement wanted to test his level of intoxication. Wisconsin law enforcement took his blood without his consent to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC).

Mitchell filed a suppression motion at the trial court level, arguing that he was not able to withdraw his "implied consent" as others could who were conscious at the time. He argued this violated his rights under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, namely, the right against unreasonable search and seizure. The trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence.

The appellate court certified the question to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which held that that kind of a blood draw from an unconscious suspect does not violate the 4th amendment. The Supreme Court justices were split as to their reasoning. Some justices felt that a Wisconsin statute in place that states that unconscious individuals are presumed to consent was valid. Others felt that the removal of blood was instead a lawful search incident to arrest. Other justices dissented, feeling that removing blood for testing of an unconscious suspect violates the 4th amendment.

Georgia Implied Consent Law

The Georgia implied consent law informs DUI suspects of the fact that the law requires they submit to breath, blood, or urine testing to determine a person's level of intoxication of alcohol or drugs. However, drivers have the right to refuse this testing. Refusal comes with significant penalties, but it is a person's right to do refuse.

An unconscious person is unable to withdraw that consent the way a conscious person can. As a result, certain drivers are left without the option to choose the right course of action for themselves. What the U.S. Supreme Court decides in this case could have significant impacts on the rights of Georgia residents accused of DUI.

Contact a Georgia DUI Attorney

No matter the situation you find yourself in, if you are accused of DUI in Georgia you need experienced legal counsel to protect your rights at every step of the process. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney knows what to do to protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!