State Of DUI Law After Birchfield

In Birchfield v. North Dakota, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the act of the police drawing blood from a person arrested for DUI is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, the police may only draw a person's blood who has been arrested for DUI if they possess a search warrant or are given knowing and voluntary consent from the person charged with DUI. Birchfield deals with two key issues:

  • What is knowing and voluntary consent for a DUI?
  • Can knowing and voluntary consent be given by an accused who is threated with a loss of license if he refuses to consent to the blood draw and is aware of the heightened criminal penalties should he refuse to give blood?

Find Out If You Knowingly Consented To The Withdrawal Of Your Blood In A DUI Case

Following Birchfield, the Pennsylvania Superior Court explained that the police may obtain knowing and voluntary consent even if a warning of a license-suspension penalty is given by the officer because the loss of a license is a civil penalty and not a criminal one. However, if the accused believes that the additional penalty imposed might be of a criminal nature, then the blood might be suppressed because the consent to the blood draw was not knowingly and consensually given. For example, if the officer does not expressly state that the driver would face only civil penalties if he refused consent to the drawing of his blood and instead simply references "enhanced penalties through PennDOT," then a court might decide that consent was not given.

Can The Level Of Alcohol In Your Blood Be Used Against You At Trial?

As a result of the United States Supreme Court Opinion in Birchfield v. North Dakota and these other cases decided in Pennsylvania, there are genuine issues as to whether the government may draw someone's blood draw under any circumstances. Specifically, this is true because the law in Pennsylvania requires that an accused serve more time in prison if they refuse a blood test, as opposed to drivers who have a lower level of blood alcohol in their system and consent to the testing of their blood. Due Process issues are raised about the law because it is reasonable to assume that people are aware of these enhanced penalties for refusing to let their blood be tested, in particularly those who have already been convicted of a DUI, and might therefore feel coerced into consenting to a warrantless test of their blood. Accordingly, any person accused of a DUI where their blood was drawn as a result of an arrest for a DUI should consider challenging those results and admissibility in court.

Hire A Former County Prosecutor To Represent You

Hiring the right attorney is incredibly important, even if your case seems straightforward or you believe that you will be eligible for programs such as ARD. If you are charged with the crime of DUI, make sure that you hire former Chester County Assistant District Attorneys Evan Kelly and Mark Conte to represent you. Both Mr. Kelly and Mr. Conte have both prosecuted and defendant thousands of DUI cases. They know what the government has to do in order to prove their case. Call 610-314-7066 for a free consultation to discuss what legal options might be available to you. They won't get pushed around in a courtroom.