Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to take jurisdiction on a case addressing a DUI related issue: whether, in the absence of a warrant, a state may make it a crime for a person to refuse to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s blood. Approximately two years ago, the Supreme Court addressed whether a forced blood alcohol blood draw was permissible under the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. In that case. the Supreme Court held that police must generally obtain a warrant before subjecting a drunken-driving suspect to a blood test, and that the natural metabolism of blood alcohol does not establish a per se exigency that would justify a blood draw without consent.
Minnesota law makes it a criminal offense for a person who has been arrested for driving while impaired to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person’s blood, breath, or urine to detect the presence of alcohol. Although the State acknowledges that such tests do not serve the purposes of officer safety or evidence preservation, a divided Minnesota Supreme Court held that a person may be compelled to submit to a warrantless breath test as a “search incident to arrest.” From that starting point, the court held that the State may make refusal to submit to such a test a criminal offense. The question presented is: Whether, in the absence of a warrant, a State may make it a crime for a person to refuse to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s blood.
It is not currently a crime to refuse a chemical test following a DUI arrest in Oklahoma. However, there are administrative penalties involved with refusal. For a more thorough discussion on implied consent and refusing a blood alcohol test, view our prior post on the subject here. If you are in need of a Tulsa DUI lawyer, contact our office at (918) 216-9644 for a consultation. Our Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer has more than fifteen years defending Oklahomans accused of crimes. Put our experience to work for you.