If you’re pulled over because you’re suspected of driving drunk, do you have a right to refuse an alcohol test? That very question was put before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20th as the 8 justices weighed whether or not to overturn Minnesota and North Dakota statutes allowing officers to conduct warrantless BAC tests.
As it stands now in each state, you can face additional charges by simply refusing to comply under a stipulation known as “implied consent.” The current laws are being challenged based on the DWI convictions of three men, all of whom were previously charged for driving drunk.
“The fundamental problem with the statutes at issue in these three cases is that they make it a criminal offense to assert a constitutional right,” stated Charles A. Rothfeld, a legal representative arguing on behalf of 1 of the 3 men.
That constitutional right Rothfield referred to is stated in the 4th Amendment – something that protects against “unreasonable search & seizures.”
According to a report from 5 Eyewitness News, when hearing the oral arguments, the justices expressed “doubts” concerning the current laws in place, with some even pondering why warrants aren’t required – considering that they take just a matter of minutes.
The court is set to make its final decision on the issue in the coming months. However, because of a current court vacancy due to the death of Associate Justice Anthony Scalia, a 4-to-4 split could uphold the previous decision of a lower court.