Law in the Future of DUI
The United States Supreme Court has issued several big rulings in recent years. They are ruling on everything from labor laws to abortion laws, but most people will not give a second thought to a Fourth Amendment ruling that was recently issued.
The Fourth Amendment protects a citizen from unreasonable searches without a warrant.
The cases the Supreme Court ruled on involve criminal penalties imposed on people for refusing warrant-less blood or breath searches as part of a DUI investigation.
The Supreme Court ruled that while criminal penalties for warrant-less blood tests would violate the Fourth Amendment, criminal penalties for warrant-less breath tests would not violated the Fourth Amendment.
What are Your Rights?
This means officers can charge you with a separate crime for refusing to give a breath sample. The Court’s reasoning is that blood tests are more intrusive than breath tests and thus justify a higher level of protection.
So the Supreme Court affirmed the criminalization of citizens who invoke one of their constitutional rights and is slowly chipping away at the protections of Fourth Amendment.
What this means for everyone, is that you can probably expect to see state governments passing laws that criminalize any refusal to take a breathalyzer test. Currently all fifty states have civil penalties for refusing these tests but only eleven impose criminal punishments.
These charges are separate from any DUI charges that a person might receive.
In other words, a person can be stopped for a DUI and not have any alcohol in their system but still be convicted of a crime simply because they refuse the breathalyzer test.
If you are ever stopped for a DUI, call an attorney immediately–before you answer any questions or take any test. Asking for an attorney will not be deemed a refusal.
The attorney can then inform you of your rights and the consequences of refusing a test.
Thrush Law Group is available 24/7 for these types of emergency calls.