Elliott v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Andrea Elliott was prosecuted for DUI. When Elliott was arrested, she refused to submit to a breath test. Georgia statutes allowed the State to use her refusal against her in her criminal trial, and the State has sought to do that. The United States Supreme Court held that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution did not bar the State from using such a refusal, in part because the Fifth Amendment gave Elliott no right to refuse to act in the first place. But the Georgia Supreme Court had held previously that the protection against compelled self-incrimination provided by Article I, Section I, Paragraph XVI of the Georgia Constitution did afford the right to refuse such a test. So Elliott argued to on appeal of her conviction that Paragraph XVI gave her the protection that the Fifth Amendment did not, and thus rendered invalid the portions of the statutes allowing her refusal to be admitted against her. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed; OCGA 40-5-67.1 (b) and 40-6-392 (d) were ruled unconstitutional to the extent that they allowed a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath test to be admitted into evidence at a criminal trial. The Court thus reversed the trial court’s denial of Elliott’s motion to suppress.