The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases challenging states’ rights to criminalize a driver’s refusal to take a drunk driving test, reported the Associated Press. The court plans to examine three cases in North Dakota and Minnesota that challenge the states’ laws criminalizing the refusal of tests that check a driver’s blood alcohol content or BAC. If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident, contact a Cincinnati car accident attorney today.
A History of Laws Regarding Checking a Driver’s BAC
In 2013, the court ruled that police must typically get a search warrant to test the BAC of a person suspected of drunken driving. They also stipulated that any exception this rule must be brought to the court on a case by case basis. Minnesota and North Dakota are arguing that their criminalization of this refusal does not violate the constitutional rights of drivers. While only some states criminalize refusing drunk driving tests, many states will suspend a person’s driver’s license in conjunction with a refusal.
The Two Cases
The Minnesota case revolves around a man who was pulling a boat out of a river with his truck when police approached him and accused him of smelling like alcohol and having bloodshot eyes. When the police asked the man to submit to a breathalyzer test, he refused and they took him into custody.
The accused drunk driver argues that the detention was a violation of his fourth amendment rights, or the right to refuse search and seizures absent of a warrant. The Minnesota Supreme Court sided with the police officers, although with a divided decision.
The two North Dakota cases were regarding a state law that considers a refusal to take a test an automatic misdemeanor drunk driving charge. The first case involved a man whose car was stuck in a ditch. Officers arrived and submitted the man to a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer, both of which he failed. When he refused to take any more tests he was slapped with an automatic first time offense DUI. The second case involved a man who consented to a chemical sobriety test but later tried to suppress the evidence in court.
Refusal to Take a Drunk Driving Test in Ohio
Ohio operates under an implied consent rule. This means that if an arresting officer has a probable cause that you have been drinking and driving, then you automatically consent to taking a blood, urine or breath test to check your BAC.
First time a refusal of these tests will result in a one year suspension of your license. Second and third time refusals can lead to two year and three year suspensions successively. If you have been convicted of two or more DUIs within the last six years, officers may use any reasonable means to make you take the test.
Contact a Cincinnati Car Accident Attorney Today
Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver can change your life. Even the driver did not blow a .08 percent, he or she may still have been impaired when your accident occurred. The attorneys at the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers can help you to prove that your car accident would not have occurred if not for the other driver’s negligence, and can help you to file a claim to recover compensation. Contact us today to learn more about your rights!