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Supreme Court Reaches 5-3 Split Decision Permitting Warrantless Breath Tests in DUI Arrests

According to an article published by CNN, on Thursday, June 23, the Supreme Court issued a split ruling on three drunk driving cases, deciding that while law enforcement requires a breath test after a person is arrested, a warrant is mandatory to request a blood test in the same situation. These three cases are referred to as Birchfield v. North Dakota and occurred from three different arrests where the arrested men were prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for refusing breath and blood tests.

The court reached a 5-3 decision, requiring that although officers are permitted a warrantless breath test, and states are able to require drivers arrested for intoxication to submit to a breath test, blood tests are considered too invasive and must, therefore, require a warrant. Justice Samuel Alito commented on the matter, stating, “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests and in most cases amply serve law enforcement interests, we conclude that a breath test, but not a blood test, may be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving.”

In one of the three cases, a man who consented to a blood test after being threatened with prosecution in North Dakota had his case sent back to the lower courts after the Supreme court’s ruling. Another man who was prosecuted in Minnesota after refusing to submit to a blood test had his conviction upheld. Lastly, the man was who was prosecuted for refusing to submit to a blood test in North Dakota should have his conviction overturned soon.

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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we encourage you to get in touch with a Connecticut DUI defense lawyer at Tomeo Sills, LLC right away. Because we believe every person reserves the right to retain aggressive legal representation when they are facing a stressful time in their life, our team stands ready to fight for your rights and future. Backed by more than 64 years of collective experience, you can rest easier knowing that when you choose our firm, you will work with a relentless, knowledgeable, and highly skilled team.

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