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U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Blood Test Refusal Issue

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Jan 05, 2016 | 0 Comments


The United States Supreme Court has opted to rule on a constitutional question that came about as a direct result of a former decision by the high court.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that nonconsensual, warrantless blood alcohol testing on suspected drunk drivers was unconstitutional. In Missouri v. McNeely, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that states had other means to get drivers to submit to blood tests without violating the Fourth Amendment – such as calling a judge for a warrant.  Modern means of communication and advancements in technology allow officers to quickly obtain judicial review.

But that begged another question: what if someone detained or arrested for DUI refused to take a BAC test anyway? In these instances, many states simply revoke driving privileges for a period of time; but some actually criminalize such refusals. So does that mean a citizen who exercises his right to not undergo a blood test can be fined or jailed? And if so, doesn't that also violate the Fourth Amendment?

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court chose to hear arguments on three consolidated cases which center around this issue. Two are from North Dakota, while a third is from neighboring Minnesota. If the high court mirrors its 2013 decision on unauthorized blood alcohol tests, it's possible that states could no longer use the threat of criminal penalties to coerce DUI suspects into taking these tests.

According to Washington law, refusing to take a blood test upon being arrested for DUI earns you a year-long driver's license suspension and your refusal can also be used against you in court. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, it's in your best interest to engage the services of a qualified DUI defense attorney.

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.


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