Over the summer, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that immediately impacted the way DUI cases are prosecuted and defended in Pennsylvania.
The Court ruled that a driver who is arrested under suspicion of DUI may not be subjected to a warrantless blood test to test for alcohol — but may be subjected to a warrantless breath test. This decision was based on the Court’s assertion that the DUI blood test is much more intrusive than a breath test.
The other issue associated with this ruling was whether a driver may be criminally penalized for failure to take a blood test. Because drivers have a constitutional right to refuse a warrantless search, the Court’s said that refusal should not result in increased criminal penalties. Non-criminal consequences such as a driver’s license suspension, are permitted.
In Pennsylvania, many jurisdictions use blood testing in DUI enforcement. Today, when an officer asks a motorist if they will agree to a blood test, the officer tells the motorist that they may refuse, but doing so means that they will face increased penalties if convicted of DUI after refusing.
Drinking and driving reminders from DoSomething.org:
- Impairment does not depend on the type of alcohol consumed, rather the number of drinks over a certain period of time. Despite myths and misconceptions, coffee, a cold shower, or exercise will not make a person more sober; only time will.
- On average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest.
- Every 51 minutes in America, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. That equates to 27 people every day. Offer to be your parents’ designated driver to ensure that everybody gets home safe. Sign up for Parents Ride Shotty.
- For drivers under 21, the United States has a Zero Tolerance policy that does not allow any alcohol to be in the blood system while behind the wheel. The consequences could include expensive fines, loss of license or jail.
- Someone is injured in a drunk driving incident every 120 seconds.
The upcoming holiday season means an increased risk of drinking and driving and traffic fatalities. Please be safe and choose a designated driver if you’re going to drink. Even better – skip the drink and make sure everyone gets home safe!
Remember, it’s never safe to drink and drive. If you or a loved on need assistance in a DUI case, contact our attorneys toll free at 866-732-6700. We’re here to help.