Sheriff Terrell discusses new DUI ruling

Clarkesville - One day after the AP reported on a Georgia high court’s decision that states a DUI test refusal can no longer be used in court, Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell spoke to The Morning Dish on how this will impact his department, and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.  “In anything, it’s all about building your case,” Terrell starts, “when you’re driving down the road and you get folks that are DUI, you’re building a case. You’re getting them for weaving, and then you get them out and you do field sobriety, so you’re building your case to show that they’re under the influence.  You have to prove to the courts that they’re under the influence, and so it puts it back on law enforcement to do your job.”

One of the hurdles that this does create, as Terrell points out, is how to handle safety checks. “What’s going to be hard with a case like this is when you’re doing a safety check,” the Sheriff says as there isn’t anything else to build a case on if the police at the checkpoint haven’t witnessed any signs of impaired driving, but can still detect the presence of alcohol in the vehicle, and can even see signs of impairment on the driver.

In the report, the AP writes, “In a concurring opinion, Justice Michael P. Boggs noted the scope of the ruling was limited to circumstances involving a criminal proceeding. He wrote that a driver’s refusal to take a breath test still could be used in an administrative proceeding for a driver’s license suspension.”

The interview with Sheriff Terrell can be heard here.