A recent Supreme Court ruling may give drivers more options when they are arrested for a DUI in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, officers must follow proper procedures when arresting a person for a DUI. According to the Muldavin Law Firm, P.L.C., this includes having legal grounds to pull over a driver in the first place.
The New York Times reports that a recent Supreme Court ruling will impact how officers can and cannot gather evidence following a DUI arrest. Implied consent laws in Tennessee require drivers to submit to chemical tests if they’ve been arrested for drunk driving. However, the Supreme Court ruling limits these implied consent laws to apply only to breath tests and not to blood tests. If officers want to perform a blood test, they will be required to get a warrant—a process which can take longer in some jurisdictions. In rural areas, for instance, judges may not work late at night. In order to get accurate results, blood tests should be performed soon after an arrest.
The Supreme Court found that blood tests violate Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. While breath tests don’t require the skin to be pierced and don’t require the government to possess a biological sample, blood tests do.
The Supreme Court’s ruling impacts states where refusal to submit to chemical testing can result in criminal consequences. Tennessee is one such state where refusal to submit to testing after being arrested can result in criminal charges. According to the Associated Press, Tennessee is one of 11 states where refusal to submit to testing has been criminalized. In all 50 states refusal to submit to testing can result in license suspension and other consequences.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving seemed content with the Supreme Court ruling, which still permits officers to perform breath tests without a warrant. However, Mothers Against Drunk Driving put its support behind the state’s rights to seek both blood and breath tests without a warrant.
While some of the Justices ruled only in favor of seeking a warrant for blood tests, Justices Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg both wrote opinions suggesting that warrants should be required in all instances, noting that even in rural areas officers need only make a phone call to get a warrant.
For individuals facing criminal DUI charges, the ruling could impact the way a case may be handled. For instance, DUI lawyers will make sure that any blood work taken was handled in a legal and Constitutional manner. If blood work was taken without consent, this could also impact the outcome of a case.
If you’re being charged with a DUI in Memphis, Tennessee, you have a range of Constitutional rights. You are innocent until proven guilty and have the right to seek the assistance of a DUI lawyer. The Muldavin Law Firm, P.L.C., has thirty years of criminal defense experience. Contact the firm today to learn more and to protect your rights.