Famous Supreme Court Decision

If you are pulled over for drunk driving, officers may tell you that they want to take a blood test to see if you're intoxicated. In the past, they could sometimes threaten to charge you for refusing the test, trying to bully you into it. However, the Supreme Court just ruled that they can't take blood for a test without a warrant.

The Supreme Court also determined that it is not illegal for people to refuse blood tests, eliminating those laws. They said that threatening people with criminal penalties to get them to agree to the test was unconstitutional.

Older Cases and Future Cases

One of the most interesting parts of this is that people had already been arrested for refusing and their cases were pending. Experts have said that all of those cases are now called into question, as police may have gone too far. Additionally, cases in which people were threatened and made to submit to blood tests that they didn't want could be questioned, as well. It will be very interesting to see how this works, both for these older cases and for future cases, as the impact could reach back toward arrests that were already made and evidence that was already gathered.

Civil Penalties

It's essential to note that this is a criminal ruling, and that some civil penalties will still stand. For example, in Pennsylvania, refusing automatically gives you a driver's license suspension for a minimum of a year. This has not changed and can still be enforced. On top of that, this applies to blood tests, not the far more common breath tests, for which warrants are not needed. Be sure you know exactly what the authorities can and cannot do under the new ruling.

Strict Rulings

One attorney said he'd been working with these cases for 30 years and he'd never seen a bigger change to the law. This shows just how critical it is for people to know what impact this is going to have on their legal rights when accused of a DUI and asked to submit a blood test.