US Supreme Court to Decide if DUI Test Refusal Separate Crime

The United States Supreme Court has said it will take up a case to ultimately decide whether individual states can make it a separate crime for individuals suspected of Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs to refuse to submit to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine within the scope of a DUI investigation.

Lawyers for the defendants maintain that these laws violate Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, and Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The Court is considering the issues on two cases on appeal from North Dakota and Minnesota.

In 2013 the Supreme Court ruled in Missouri v. McNeely that police officers investigating a DUI case must obtain a warrant before taking a blood sample when a blood test is refused. Several states have responded by making the test refusal itself a separate crime, punishable by fines and even jail time, even if the individual is never charged with the crime of DUI or is found not guilty of DUI at trial or the DUI is dismissed.

In both Missouri and Kansas, drivers can already face a potential loss of driving privileges for a minimum of one year on a first-time refusal. In Kansas a refusal can not be charged as a separate crime if the individual has no prior alcohol-related contacts, however your right to drive can be suspended for one year, with additional restrictions on your Kansas drivers license with the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car.


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