No Criminal Charges For Refusing Blood Draws – Birchfield v North Dakota: Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently rendered an opinion, in Birchfield v North Dakota, indicating that criminal charges cannot ensue for individuals refusing blood draws after being requested by a police officer. North Dakota previously criminally punished individuals for refusing breathalyzers. Here in the State of Michigan, refusing breathalyzers does not bring about criminal punishment; however, it is worth a scholarly analysis to review the SCOTUS opinion.
The Court was concerned with whether the requirement of providing a breath test is controlled by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The issue also revealed around the idea of taking blood as well as a breath test. The court was more concerned, or so it seemed, with the idea of taking blood from an individual. This is considered more intrusive than a simple breathe test. Traditionally, officers are allowed to take a warrantless breathe test after an individual has been arrested for suspected drunk driving. However, this has not always been the case for the taking of blood.
The Court ruled that States are not allowed to impose criminal sanctions on individuals refusing to submit to blood draws, even in the face of an implied consent law. For example, here in Michigan if an individual refuses a blood draw then they are not criminal punished. Instead, Michigan brings about civil repercussions for refusal, which includes the suspension of the individual’s drivers license. It is also important to note that Michigan does allow individual’s who have refused for the first time an opportunity to petition for a restricted drivers license during their time of suspension. It is important to know the laws among various states and to know what will happen if you attempt to invoke your constitutional records. The opinion by SCOTUS protects some constitutional rights; however, it is necessary to invoke those rights.
Know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up. AND PLEASE REMEMBER TO NEVER RELY ON THIS INFORMATION OR ANY INFORMATION FROM ANY WEBSITE OR THIRD PARTY ADVICE CONCERNING ANY LEGAL DEFENSE, TACTIC, PROCESS OR PROCEDURE. YOU MUST AND SHOULD ALWAYS CONTACT, DISCUSS AND CONSULT WITH PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION PRIOR TO OR ATTEMPTING TO DEFENDANT YOURSELF WITHIN A COURT OF LAW.