The Supreme Court heard a trio of cases involving a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer examination. The breathalyzer is a device that police have suspects blow into to measure their blood-alcohol content. The higher the BAC, the drunker the person is. If the individual refuses, the police can arrest the suspect and subject her to a blood test. These cases involved the ability of the police to compel people to submit to breathalyzer and blood tests.
The Supreme Court ruled in two of the three cases that the police overstepped their authority. In those two cases, the defendants refused to submit to the breathalyzer after which the police drove them to a hospital and subjected them to an involuntary blood test. The Court ruled that the blood test was very invasive and therefore required a warrant.
The third test involved a defendant who refused to submit to the breathalyzer test. In this case, the defendant was compelled to submit to the breathalyzer. The Court determined that blowing into the breathalyzer was not invasive, unlike the blood test, and therefore the police do not need to obtain a warrant. That particular defendant was ordered to serve out his sentence.
If you are facing criminal charges under a drunken driving charge, then you may want to speak to a defense attorney. As you can see, drunk drivers do not enjoy strong constitutional protections. The police may interview you, question you and test you to determine if you are sufficiently sober to drive. They can do this all without violating your constitutional rights. It is, therefore, critical that you confront these charges before they balloon into something more serious. A lawyer can help you prepare a legal strategy to minimize the damage to your personal and professional life.