Why Blood Alcohol Test Is Necessary For OUI?

Why Blood Alcohol Test Is Necessary For OUI?

The U.S Supreme court has strict guidelines on blood alcohol test if arrested for OUI. The most important among them is the ruling that law enforcement officers cannot draw blood from the body without a valid reason and explaining the same to the accused. This means that in Massachusetts you’ll be subjected to a blood alcohol test only if –

  • There’s a search warrant from a judge or magistrate based on probable cause.
  • There’s explicit consent.
  • In case of an emergency, the prosecutors must show how/why the emergency prevented police from acquiring a warrant before the court allows warrantless, unconsented BAC results into evidence.

The guidelines by the Supreme Court of America is now known as the Birchfield Law. The 2016 ruling on DUI blood tests clearly stated that drawing blood is an intrusive act against privacy, and is prohibited under the Fourth Amendment Rights. But if there’s a warrant or the consent from the victim is obtained, the test can be performed under medical supervision.

It should be noted that in the same ruling, the Court clearly stated that warrantless breath tests after a valid DUI arrest are permissible. However, if a warrant is not properly obtained and the police fails to explain you the reason for testing, your MA criminal defense lawyer can file a motion in the court of law for suppressing the results obtained from the evidence collected.


Supreme court ruling and consent laws

The Supreme Court of the United States recently gave a verdict on a DUI case that dealt with implied consent laws and refusal statutes. In this regard, the Supreme Court ruled that criminalizing a driver’s denial to agree upon the BAC testing undercuts the notion of voluntary consent. Free and voluntary consent is an acceptable exception to government searches and seizures.

As a result, the states cannot amend the laws for DUI test refusals. Also, they can’t impose criminal punishments and penalties for a refusal. But the court held that civil or administrative penalties can be imposed or altered.

Massachusetts distinguishes penalties for chemical test refusals in the form of administrative sanctions. This means that the Registry of Motor Vehicles can take legal action to revoke your license.


What are the consequences of refusal?

Here are the consequences that you might face if you refuse to take the blood alcohol test –

  • License Seizure – If a driver refuses to take the test even after a lawful request, the officer has the complete authority to seize your license. Going forward, the officer will issue a notice of suspension and forward the report of refusal to the Registrar Motor Vehicles (RMV).
  • License Suspension – Drivers who have never been accused of OUI face a 180-day license suspension for refusal. Drivers who have been convicted of OUI once or are below 21 years of age face a three-year suspension. Drivers who have been convicted twice are suspended for five years, while a driver with three prior convictions is suspended for life.


What to do if you’re unsure of your rights?

A law enforcement agency must provide you with a valid reason stating that a law has been broken. A stop is considered unlawful if there’s no valid reason. Your constitutional rights will remain intact even if you lose consciousness. However, don’t forget to contact a MA criminal defense lawyer if you think you’re having difficulty in exercising your rights.