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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
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Supreme Court Ruling Could Lower Some DUI Penalties

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People who were recently pulled over for drinking and driving could get a break on their punishment, as prosecutors are currently reviewing hundreds of cases around the US after a recent ruling by the Supreme Court. 

The ruling, which was issued at the end of June in Birchfield vs. North Dakota, requires a warrant if a person who is suspected of DUI refuses to take a blood test.


In many states, this ruling means that the police cannot threaten a suspected drunk driver with higher penalties if they refuse a blood test.

Defense attorneys cheer this news because it could help to keep first time drunk drivers who will not take a blood test out of jail.

The split ruling found that the police have to get a search warrant to draw the blood of motorists who are arrested for suspected DUI. However, no warrants are needed to do breath tests.

For states that mostly use blood tests for drunk drivers, such as PA, the ruling will have a major impact. Prosecutors in PA have told the police that they should no longer tell suspected drunk drivers that they can get more jail time for not having their blood drawn. It would be a constitutional violation to do so.

Our View

As drunk driving attorneys who only sue drunk drivers and never represent them, we do not like any decision that makes it more difficult to prosecute drunk drivers. Of course, getting a warrant from a judge to do a blood draw is not a major impediment to getting a drunk driver’s BAC on record.

This ruling may make it a bit more complicated to get blood drawn in some cases, but as attorneys dedicated to suing convicted drunk drivers, we will continue to sue them in civil court and win large settlements for our clients.