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New clarification on blood testing from U.S. Supreme Court

Minnesota has very strict laws when it concerns drinking and driving. For drivers of commercial vehicles, they can be arrested and charged with a crime if their blood alcohol content level is .04 or higher. For other drivers over the age of 21, the limit is .08. The state also has an implied consent law, which means that people agree to submit to a chemical test if they are stopped for a DUI.

However, two cases were recently brought before the U.S. Supreme Court over the question of warrants and blood tests. In one case, the man says that he was coerced into taking a blood test by a warning from the law enforcement officer; the officer told him that to refuse a blood test was a crime. The other case concerned a man’s misdemeanor charge for refusing to take a blood test.

In the first case, the justices recommended that the man’s argument should be re-evaluated by his state’s supreme court. In the second case, the high court ruled that a blood test was much more invasive on a person’s privacy than a breath test and therefore, was subject to the Fourth Amendment. For that reason, the justices stated that people could not be subjected to criminal penalties for refusing to submit to one. The court also pointed out that authorities would need to get a warrant before the blood test could be taken.

Many people, when faced with a charge of drunk driving, may be tempted to simply plead guilty. However, a DUI charge and conviction can have repercussions that last for several years. Therefore, they may want to discuss their options with an experienced attorney.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, “Supreme Court strikes down warrantless blood test for DUI suspects in case from North Dakota,” John Hageman, June 23, 2016

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