Attorney Greg Willis was featured in the Daily Report (Law.com) because of the landmark victory he secured in the Georgia Supreme Court back in February 2019. Ultimately the high court sided with him and barred his client’s refusal to take a breath test from being used as evidence against her at trial.
The ruling was considered a bombshell because it forever changed the Georgia DUI laws. This case requires the police to respect the constitutional rights of drivers while working to keep intoxicated drivers off the road. Attorney Willis argued that the use of his clients breath tests and breath test refusals at trial violated the state constitutional right against self-incrimination found in Article I, Section I, Paragraph XVI of the Georgia Constitution.
“I would like to say that this was magnificent legal work, but it’s really just straight black-letter law,” he said. “My entire argument was that the Georgia Constitution has been interpreted this way since 1879. Every one of our constitutions has used the same language.”
Athens-Clarke County Chief Assistant Solicitor William Fleenor argued that the state’s interest in keeping impaired motorists off the road supersedes the defendant’s constitutional rights. However, Justice Nels S.D. Peterson was skeptical about this assertion and ruled that a breath test “is an act incriminating in nature and, therefore, Paragraph XVI prohibits the State from compelling such test.”
Although Athens-Clarke County police will continue to enforce the state’s DUI laws, the only difference will be that the law enforcement officials need to read Implied Consent to request a blood test, rather than doing so for a breath test.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Atlanta, contact Willis Law Firm today at (404) 800-0025 and request a free consultation to learn about your available legal options.