How Olevik v. State Changed the DUI Game

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Summary of Olevik V. State:

 

Olevik v. State, S17A0738 (10/16/17), is a Supreme Court of Georgia case that changed the way DUI are investigated. In Olevik, appellant was convicted of DUI, failure to maintain lane and no brake lights. He contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of his state-administered breath test. Specifically, he contended, law enforcement violated his state constitutional right against self-incrimination when law enforcement asked him to expel deep lung air into a breathalyzer.

The relevant part of the Georgia Constitution states “[n]o person shall be compelled to give testimony tending in any manner to be self-incriminating.” Ga. Const.1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Par. XVI (“Paragraph XVI”).

Using the GA Constitution, the Court ruled that requiring a defendant to submit to a chemical test is unconstitutional because compelling a defendant to perform an act that is incriminating in nature is precisely what Paragraph XVI of the Constitution specifically prohibits.

What does this mean to you?

 

Prior to Olevik, if you refused to submit to a chemical test (Breathalyzer, Blood, or Urine) the State could use your refusal against you in trial. However, post Olevik, the Court ruled that at least in Georgia, citizens have a right against self- incrimination. This means that you don’t have to incriminate yourself by submitting to any test that would get you in trouble AND the state can’t use your refusal against you. Olevik, brought the right against self- incrimination in DUI cases back to the great state of Georgia.

 

What to do if you are stopped for a DUI?

 

If you are stopped for a DUI, remember you have the right to refuse a chemical test! We advise all of our clients not to submit to any chemical test, and now because of Olevik, our client’s refusals can’t be used against them. Do not allow the police to intimidate, coerce, or make you feel like you have to consent! If you are stopped, contact us at Bixon Law right away. We deal with many DUI cases and can help advise you of your rights. Give us a call now.


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