If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), one of the things likely to be topmost in your mind is whether you have the right to decline the blood tests or not. Certainly, many police officers act as if you have no right in this issue at all. Well, there are many things you should know about blood tests, such as these three:
A Warrant Is Needed
The U.S. Supreme Court decided that the police have to get a search warrant if they want to compel a DUI suspect to undergo a blood test. The only exception is when there are exigent circumstances, for example, if there is no time to get the warrant, but such cases are rare.
When the issue came up in court, one of the objections raised by the police was that the delay in getting a warrant would affect the outcome of the test because the blood alcohol level (BAL) of the suspect would be falling while the warrant was being processed. However, this argument is no longer valid due to the advent of electronic warrants that can be issued by judges on standby; such warrants take no time at all.
Refusal Is Not a Crime
You should also know that you have the right to refuse the blood test without facing criminal charges or penalties. This was also a clarification made by the Supreme Court because, prior to this, some states would make it a crime to refuse a DUI blood test. Note that you will only escape the criminal charges if you refuse the DUI blood test when the police don't have a warrant. Once the police have obtained a warrant, you no longer have the right to refusal and doing so would attract contempt of court charges.
There Are Administrative Penalties for Refusing
Lastly, you should know that while you should not be charged for refusing a DUI blood test, you may still face other consequences. For example, most states have enacted administrative penalties for motorists who refuse to undergo DUI blood tests. The argument is that driving is a privilege (not a right) that is only awarded to those who obey the applicable terms and conditions, and one of the terms is the implied consent for DUI tests. Going by that argument, any driver who refuses the blood test gives up their driving privilege, at least for a time until the issue is settled.
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