Supreme court ruling could change Georgia DUI cases forever

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A new ruling from the state supreme court may make it harder for the state to use breathalyzer test results and refusals against you in a DUI case.

Channel 2's Nicole Carr went through the ruling and talked to experts to learn what it means for drivers.

The ruling takes a hard look at the traffic stop and how that interaction goes down between you and the police - and what they can submit as evidence against you.

In a new ruling, the state supreme court is making two things clear about a DUI stop communication: A police officer cannot compel you take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, that decision can't be assumed as an admission of guilt.


“Instead of just antagonizing you and saying, 'We think you're drunk, can you just take this to prove to us that you're not?’ You know, it's all about communication,” said driver Imoni Jenkins.

It's ruling DUI attorneys and experts across the state have been watching closely for months.

“It's going to take away what they thought was a valuable tool, which was that they get to turn around and use your decision to exercise your right against you," said DUI attorney Ben Sessions.

The ruling was born out of a Gwinnett County case in which a man challenged the evidence from his breathalyzer because he felt coerced into taking it, a direct violation of state constitutional rights.

His conviction won't be overturned but Monday’s ruling is one experts said may very well change the tone of your interaction with police, simply because they don't want the courts to see any part of that breathalyzer offering as forced.

“I think that it makes law enforcement officers much more careful in the way, and respectful in the way they treat people,” Sessions said.