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DUI – Arrest Or Accident With Serious Injury/Fatality Required For Implied Consent Alcohol Testing

In the case of Snyder v. State, 2008 Ga.LEXIS 192 (2008) the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that absent an arrest for DUI or an accident involving serious injury, a driver is not required to give a blood alcohol test if he is not under arrest or there has not been an accident involving serious injury. Said accident involving serious injury or fatality must be known by law enforcement and cannot occur at a later date.

In Snyder v. State, 2008 Ga.LEXIS 192 (2008) the defendant had not been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and the state was unable to produce evidence of a serious injury or fatality occurring at the time law enforcement was conducting its investigation. It is important to note that approximately ten days after the accident the victim in the matter died assumably as a result of the injuries sustained in the initial car accident, but at the time the law enforcement was actually investigating the accident, the victim only had minor scrapes.

Georgia law requires that the officer can request chemical testing of a driver who has not been arrested only if at the time of the request the driver has been involved in a traffic accident that resulted in serious injury or fatality of which law enforcement is aware. The court ruled that since at the time the chemical testing was requested, the defendant had not been arrested and there was no evidence that the serious injury or fatality had resulted from the traffic accident, the request for chemical testing was invalid and the result of the chemical testing should be suppressed.

About the author: John Breakfield is an attorney with Coleman, Chambers & Rogers, LLP, in Gainesville, Georgia. The law firm regularly handles matters regarding Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The firm has handled, or can handle, D.U.I. cases in numerous counties including: Hall County (Gainesville), White County (Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Gwinnett County (Lawrenceville), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), all of Northeast Georgia, and throughout the State of Georgia.