LANCASTER, Pennsylvania. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that police are required to obtain a warrant in order to draw blood to test a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. While warrants are required before officers can draw blood, no warrants are required for breath tests. According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court decided that blood tests were more invasive than breath tests and therefore taking blood without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment which bans unreasonable searches. The Supreme Court ruling could have implications regarding how officers can and cannot investigate DUIs in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have a pending DUI case, the Supreme Court’s ruling could have an impact. If you have been charged with a DUI in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the consequences of conviction can be serious. A qualified criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist you. Barry G. Goldman, Esquire: Attorney at Law is a DUI lawyer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who can review your case and offer a roadmap forward.
According to the Legal Intelligencer, the Supreme Court’s ruling, which outlaws criminal penalties for DUI suspects who refuse to submit to blood tests, has created some confusion in Pennsylvania regarding enforcement. Judges have ruled differently in the application of the new law. One judge found that because Pennsylvania does not criminalize refusing a blood test as a separate offense, harsher penalties can still apply if a person is found guilty of a DUI after refusing to submit to the blood test. Other judges permitted defendants to suppress blood alcohol test results in trial. While the Supreme Court ruling expressly forbids the imposition of additional criminal penalties for refusing to take a blood test, the ruling does not specify whether blood evidence obtained without a warrant should be handled in court.
Under Pennsylvania law, if a person refuses to submit to a blood test, and is later found guilty of a DUI, he or she could face, “third tier” criminal penalties. Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws require drivers to submit to a blood or breath test if they are suspected of driving under the influence. Some judges find the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentencing for refusal to submit to a blood test unconstitutional after the Supreme Court’s ruling, explaining that refusing adds additional penalties. Some judges interpret the ruling more narrowly, claiming that because Pennsylvania doesn’t add a new criminal offense, the enhanced penalties are legal.
As the courts untangle the legal implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling, if you are facing a DUI charge in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it is wise to seek the counsel of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. A DUI lawyer can review the evidence against you, determine whether it is admissible in court, and fight to have your charges dropped or lessened, when appropriate. If you’re facing a DUI, visit barrygoldmanlaw.com.