Georgia Eliminates DUI Refusal Loophole

Georgia Court of Appeals rules that forced blood draws can by performed, with a warrant, when a breath test is refused. The Georgia Court of Appeals last week confirmed that police can conduct a forced blood test on a suspected drunk driver if a judge issues a search warrant, deciding that the state legislature had overruled the 2006 state Supreme Court decision on the topic. Daniel J. McAllister was driving his white Cadillac on March 30, 2012, when he ran into a roadblock set up by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office just after 10:30 pm. Deputy George Rose decided McAllister was suspicious because the Cadillac’s left turn blinker was active. He also noted it was out-of-the-ordinary that McAllister asked what was going on while he was being stopped in the middle of the road, that he had to pause before answering questions and that McAllister fumbled while retrieving his license from his wallet. Slurred speech and a smell of alcohol set up McAllister for roadside sobriety tests, which he failed. He was taken to jail where he refused a breath test. A warrant was brought to a local judge who was on standby to sign the order. Deputies brought McAllister to a hospital where his blood was drawn and tested at 0.12 blood alcohol content. On trial for driving under the influence of alcohol, McAllister relied on no less an authority than the 2005 Georgia Supreme Court case Georgia v. Collier. “The consequences of refusing the requested testing are the possibility of admission of such refusal at a criminal trial as well as suspension of the driver’s license,” the...

Was Your BAC Higher Than Expected? Here Are Two Possible Explanations

Was Your BAC Higher Than Expected? Here Are Two Possible Explanations Determining a person’s BAC is a very complex process, and there are multiple ways for a blood or breath sample to be contaminated or otherwise unreliable. If the testing is done by way of a blood test, two surprising sources of contamination come from an unlikely source: the hospital itself. One possible source of contamination is draw-site contamination. When blood is drawn from a driver, either for the purposes of BAC determination or to provide medical services, the site on the driver’s arm where the needle is inserted is cleansed with a sterilization agent. Usually, when the test is conducted solely for law enforcement purposes, iodine will be used, as it will not contaminate the results. However, if an alcohol- or ethanol-based agent is used, there is a possibility that it will enter the needle when it goes into the skin, which then ends up mixed in with the driver’s blood in the final sample. Since it only takes a miniscule amount of alcohol in blood to elevate the BAC level to .08, the integrity of the sample would be compromised in this situation. The presence of this additional alcohol can increase the BAC reading by a significant amount. Another possible source of contamination is alcohol entering through cuts on the body. While alcohol is not absorbed through intact skin, it can be absorbed through open wounds. Therefore, if a driver is at a hospital after a car accident, alcohol that is used to cleanse an open wound can contaminate the blood sample, even if an iodine-based sterilization...