There are many constitutional issues that an individual may face in the course of their Atlanta DUI case. When handling a DUI case, the first element to look at is the basis for the stop. There must be some sort of reasonable suspicion to detain a person.

If you have been arrested for a DUI and believe that one of your constitutional rights may have been violated, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney in Atlanta can evaluate the case and determine if any constitutional issues may have been violated.

Initial Arrest Steps

When arresting an individual, there must be probable cause. If somebody is placed under arrest, but are deemed to be “in custody”, then that means they have been seized.

If law enforcement has a reasonable expectation that the detention is lasting longer than a temporary detention, they may have to be read their Miranda Rights.

A DUI charge is the only case where there is no need for Miranda Rights before blood, breath, or urine tests. A DUI case is also one that can occur without reasonable suspicion, for example, a roadblock. Because of this, there are a multitude of constitutional issues that may arise throughout the course of an Atlanta DUI case.

How Issues Impact Cases

Atlanta courts follow the United States Supreme Court, the Georgia Supreme Court, and the Georgia Court of Appeals’ interpretations of the Constitution.Atlanta treats constitutional issues no differently than any other court in the state. Every court in the state is required by law to uphold the Constitution, which is interpreted by the courts of the Georgia Supreme Court, the Georgia Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Sometimes if evidence is seized illegally it can be suppressed as it is what is called the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” What that means is if something happens in a case that is deemed illegal, and a person moves to suppress it, the evidence might never be presented in front of a judge or jury, which oftentimes can cause some prosecutor to make a deal on the case.

Fourth Amendment Protections

The Fourth Amendment protects somebody against an unreasonable search and seizure. It also mandates, in certain cases, that one must have probable cause to make a search. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to seize somebody or detain somebody on the side of the road or seize their person.

The key phrase in the Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is “unreasonable.” The determination of what is unreasonable is what an experienced attorney can argue. It is not a question oftentimes of what a search is; it is a question whether it was reasonable. An unreasonable search qualifies as one of a number of constitutional issues that may be present in a person’s Atlanta DUI case.

Process of a Seizure

A seizure is when somebody is detained and stopped. Georgia has a corollary of the Fourth Amendment, which is Georgia Constitution Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph 13, which is viewed the same way as the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In Georgia cases, a defendant has to file a motion to suppress any evidence that has been illegally seized by a violation of the Fourth Amendment or the Georgia Constitution.

Common Constitutional Issues that Come Up in Atlanta DUI Cases

Not so much as in Atlanta. If they move a case to the state court of Fulton County, sometimes it can take longer than a year. At that point, under a case called Barker v. Wingo, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that any defendant has a right to what is called a “constitutional, speedy trial.”

Sometimes, if a defendant can argue that the delay was unreasonably long, that it was not attributable to the defendant, that the defendant can show harm, and that the defendant asserted the right to have this trial heard the soonest or at a pretty relatively early stage in the case, there is an opportunity to get a case dismissed.

That is probably the only issue specific to Atlanta. There is no difference in the way Atlanta DUI cases are handled in terms of the law versus any DUI in the state of Georgia. It is a violation of state law; all constitutional issues are the same in every court around Georgia.

 

Unreasonable Search

A search is defined as an intrusion into somebody’s personal space. This gives law enforcement the opportunity to look and see what is inside somebody’s house, somebody’s car, somebody’s wallet, and on somebody’s person.

Defining whether or not something is unreasonable is sometimes tricky. For example, if someone wanted to find out what is in a person’s house, they could search their house.

It would unreasonable for them to remove the roof from the house so that they can physically look inside each room. It would unreasonable for them to knock down walls in the home to see if there were any drugs inside them. The context of what is unreasonable, as well as the presence of any constitutional issues throughout the DUI case, depends on the situation.

Conducting a Constitutional Search

In order to conduct a constitutional search, law enforcement must show probable cause. This can be done through a warrant, consent, or potentially a search incident to arrest.

There are a number of exceptions but, generally, the phrases would be consent, warrant, or probable cause. Without these elements, an individual may be able to bring forward a multitude of constitutional issues in their Atlanta DUI case.