This week, the U.S. Supreme Court began considering a case involving drunken driving and alcohol blood tests.
The case could have impact on drunken driving cases across the country. But many local Pennsylvania DUI lawyers are saying that the results of the decision could have little, if any, impact on the state of affairs in Pennsylvania.
The question before the U.S. Supreme Court involves police officers taking blood samples without a warrant, when they suspect that someone has been drinking and driving.
The case stems from a Missouri arrest in 2010. The man's blood was drawn without his consent. That, lawyers argued, was an unreasonable search. Missouri courts refused to allow the blood test as evidence.
Regardless of how this case turns out, the effect of the Supreme Court's decision in this case won't be too severe in Pennsylvania. That's because of something called "implied consent."
Under Pennsylvania's DUI laws, police can ask a suspected drunken driver to submit to a blood test. If the driver refuses to submit to the blood test, then the driver's license will be suspended for 12 months.
What's worse is that the refusal to submit to the test can also be used as evidence in court. It can also be used to enhance the sentence, if the driver is subsequently found guilty of DUI.
The American Civil Liberties Union feels that warrantless blood draws are unconstitutional. And as a result, if the Supreme Court rules to the same extent, the ACLU indicates that Pennsylvania law could stand to be affected.
At that point, it's highly possible that the implied consent laws could come under fire, Allentown's WFMZ-TV reports.
That being said, most DUI lawyers are watching this case closely as it stands to affect DUI laws throughout the nation.
- DUI Arrests (FindLaw)
- U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Warrantless DUI Blood Tests (FindLaw's Philadelphia DUI Blog)
- Find a Philadelphia DUI Lawyer (FindLaw)