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Supreme Court considers legality of breath tests in DUI cases

Posted on August 4, 2016 in Breath Alcohol Testing

Until recently in most states, it was perfectly within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer if you were suspected of drunk driving. This usually meant that you were required to submit to a blood test down at the police station, but it still wasn’t considered illegal. Recent Supreme Court rulings have changed this, so what does that mean for motorists?

You can no longer refuse a breath test if you are suspected of drunk driving. Police must still obtain a warrant if they want to issue a blood test, but there are no such requirements in place for breath tests. Should you refuse, you can have your driver’s license revoked in all 50 states, and in11 states you could be faced with criminal penalties. 

The case was presented before the Supreme Court after three people claimed that the laws requiring breath tests were in violation with unreasonable search and seizure laws. It was decided that breath tests do not violate these laws because theydon’t leave a mark on the skin, as with blood tests, nor do they leave behind any DNA with the government. In all three cases, there were demands to require search warrants prior to a breath test being administered.

The Supreme Court justices didn’t find this to be reasonable for various reasons. The first being that a routine traffic stop was not considered to be anything out of the ordinary that would require a warrant. The second being that rural cities and counties wouldn’t be able to comply with this law as easily because many of them only have one oncall judge working at night to issue warrants. While it only takes a few minutes to issue a warrant over the phone, the Supreme Court justices found this to be excessive and did not rule in favor of the defendants.

It seems that the Supreme Court is taking its reach a bit further in an effort to protect the public from the danger of drunk driving. If you have made this mistake and are now facing a DUI, don’t face the courts alone. Always hire an attorney to give yourself the best chance possible in court. 

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