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Buford v. State, A11A1518, November 4, 2011: Being told “I am charging you with DUI” while in a hospital bed is a DUI arrest for purposes of Implied Consent

Buford v. State, A11A1518, November 4, 2011: Robert Buford appealed his DUI conviction and the denial of his motion to suppress blood test result from his DUI in Cherokee County State Court in Canton Georgia alleging that he was not under arrest for DUI so consent was not implied for purposes of Georgia law and he was not unconsciously alleviating the need for implied consent. In June 2009, Robert Buford lost control of his car in Cherokee County, flipped, and hit a tree. He was life-flighted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta Georgia. EMTs advised that Buford smelled of alcohol so a State Trooper went to Grady to investigate. When the Trooper got there he found Buford in a hospital bed and taped to a backboard with a neck brace. He smelled of alcohol and opened his eyes at one point but was silent. The Trooper told him that he was “being Charged with DUI” and read him implied consent rights under Georgia law to obtain a blood test.

Georgia law requires that a person be arrested for DUI before implied consent rights requesting a blood test may legally be read. ” The test is whether a reasonable person in the suspect’s position would have thought the detention would not be temporary.” The Court of Appeals found that under the totality of the circumstances no reasonable person could have concluded that the detention would not be temporary as he was in a hospital bed, taped to a backboard, his freedom was significantly curtailed and the Trooper told him he was charging him with DUI.

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