U.S. Supreme Court Considers DUI Blood Testing Case

An Update from Your Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

According to a recent Wilkes-Barre Times Leader article, the U.S. Supreme Court has begun considering whether a blood test obtained from a DUI suspect by Missouri law enforcement officials without a warrant is constitutional. In this case, the DUI suspect was stopped by police for swerving. Police failed to get a warrant before submitting the handcuffed man for blood testing to measure his blood alcohol content. The police claimed that exigent circumstances justified the warrantless blood test due to the fact that the level of alcohol in a person’s blood dissipates rapidly. As a result, delaying the blood testing by a few hours in order to first get a warrant actually could result in test results showing a substantially lower blood alcohol content than the person actually had at the time he or she was driving. Therefore, the police might not have the strongest evidence in support of a DUI charge.

Nonetheless, the Missouri courts ruled that the blood test results could not be used in the DUI case since they were obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. The possibility of a decrease in a defendant’s blood alcohol content did not rise to the level of the exigent circumstances necessary to justify a warrantless blood test.

As a practical matter, Pennsylvania DUI lawyer Steven Kellis can tell you that the outcome of this pending U.S. Supreme Court case is unlikely to affect Pennsylvania DUI law. In the state of Pennsylvania, there is an implied consent law. This means that the penalties can be quite severe for a person suspected of DUI who refuses to take a blood test as requested by police. Pennsylvania law provides that if you have obtained a driver’s license, then you already have given implied consent to blood alcohol content tests if requested by law enforcement officials. If you refuse to submit to testing, then you automatically receive a 12-month driver’s license suspension. This penalty is in addition to any consequences ordered by the court that you may face if convicted of DUI. If police suspect you of DUI and request that you a take a blood test, Pennsylvania DUI attorneys generally recommend that you comply with that request.

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, getting immediate legal assistance can be beneficial to minimizing the consequences that you may face. Contact Pennsylvania DUI attorney Steven Kellis at (215) 940-1200 today, and see how he can help you build a strong defense against any type of DUI-related charges.