Question: I got a DUI charge in Gwinnett County a few nights ago and I got out of jail and now I need a great Gwinnett County DUI lawyer and I saw your website and I've got questions. I'm one of those people who doesn't drink all that much. I guess you'd call me a social drinker; someone who maybe has a drink with dinner or at a party or a game. So I'm not a big drinker, is what I'm saying.
I live in Lawrenceville, GA, and I was coming home from a party in Athens, Georgia, where I used to go to school, and I just about made it home. I was just down the block from my house when a Gwinnett County policeman turned on the blue lights. I went to college on a ROTC scholarship so I know how to act and I didn't give the cop any trouble; I was very respectful.
He said I swerved or didn't maintain my lane, and he's right, I remember swerving a little. It was pretty late, about 2:00 AM, and I was sleepy, I'll admit that. The cop asked if I'd been drinking and at first I said no. But I knew he could smell alcohol so I said yes, I'd had a couple. He asked how big they were and I said they were big glasses, because I didn't want to lie.
The Gwinnett cop asked me to do some field sobriety tests and I did them and I think I did fairly well, I just stumbled once, but that was because it was late and dark and I couldn't see that well.
I thought the cop was going to let me go but then he told me to put my hands behind my back and he arrested me and took me to the jail. He asked me to take an alcohol blow test and I said I'd think about it and that I wanted to speak with a DUI attorney, but he said I refused the test.
Then, I couldn't believe it; he said he got a warrant to take my blood. So the cop took me somewhere and he had someone do a blood test. I didn't consent to a blood test, I didn't give permission, but the cop said a judge gave him the power to take me for a blood test.
I just want to know if a cop can make you take a blood test. I want to know if it's legal and what's going on.
I'm worried the blood test will show alcohol and marijuana and maybe Xanax.
A.Z. in Lawrenceville, GA
Answer: I appreciate your question. The Gwinnett County Police, as part of one of their Special Operations Sections, have a DUI Task Force. As the name implies, the Task Force's goal is the enforcement of DUI laws and to make DUI arrests. They have been active and making increased amounts of DUI stops and arrests.
More and more we're seeing that if a driver refuses a breath test, the Task Force members are getting warrants from a judge allowing a blood draw. Blood tests are considered to be the most accurate measure of a person's alcohol level.
So to answer your question, under Georgia law a police officer, deputy sheriff, or state trooper can make a warrant application to a judge, and if the judge signs-off, then the law enforcement official can force the driver submit to a blood test. It's all perfectly legal, as long as the proper procedures were filed.