Top Story

Forced Blood Draws are Ruled Unconstitutional by SCOTUS

A few months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States considered the question whether states may attach criminal penalties on a diver who refuses to submit to a blood or breath test to measure the blood alcohol concentration level during a DUI arrest.

For Birchfield v. North Dakota case, the Court wanted to know in particular whether it is a violation of a suspected drunk driver’s Fourth Amendment right of privacy against unreasonable searches to force the driver, against his will and in the absence of a warrant, to submit to a blood or breath test to measure his BAC. The Court Verdict — “No” for breathalyzer tests and “Yes” for blood tests.


Breathalyzer Test Decision – No it is not a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. Subsequently, suspected drunk drivers can be required to submit to breath tests because a) it is not a very invasive test, just a few blows of air, and b) a very limited amount of privacy is at stake to an insignificant degree.

Blood Test Decision – Yes it is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. This was concluded on the basis that a blood test is physically invasive. Additionally there is a component of privacy in a blood test for alcohol. Because of this informational exposure, if police have a person’s blood, they can find out all sorts of encoded personal information that may have nothing to do with whether he was intoxicated while driving.

The Supreme Court concluded that following a DUI arrest, there is generally no need for a blood test, because there is a less invasive alternative and equally accurate breath test that can be performed instead.

What does this mean for DUI cases in Pennsylvania?

Dauphin County’s First Assistant DA Fran Chardo said there will be a review of “a lot” of existing DUI cases. They will be looking to find those cases that were prosecuted or their sentences enhanced because of non-consenting BAC blood test evidence.

As a result of this Supreme Court decision, officers will be much more reliant on Breathalyzer in alcohol cases.

This decision does not affect DUI arrests which involve a car crash. Such cases are prosecuted with a higher tier of charge, regardless of a blood draw refusal or blood draw results.

If you have questions about a case in which you were asked to submit to a blood test, please call 1-866-MCSHANE so we can get to the bottom of this.

Recent Articles

Permalink to Important Lesson for Teachers Charged with a DUI

Important Lesson for Teachers Charged with a DUI

A DUI Can Mean Losing Your Teaching Job One of the common concerns for teachers who are charged with a DUI is about whether they will lose their job.  You’ve put in so much hard work to get to this point.  Watching it all come down in an instant can be very scary.  Fortunately, The […]

read more »
Permalink to Top 6 Causes for Wrongful Convictions (Part 1) — Snitches

Top 6 Causes for Wrongful Convictions (Part 1) — Snitches

The criminal justice system is not infallible. Actually far from it.  Innocent people do go to prison as a result of perjury, faulty eyewitness identification and prosecutorial misconduct. It is the ultimate miscarriage of justice — the taking away of the freedom of a factually innocent person while also allowing the guilty person to remain […]

read more »
Permalink to Ambulance Drivers and DUI

Ambulance Drivers and DUI

The Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in PA has its own set of penalties for ambulance drivers as it relates to DUI.  It’s not good news. The rules are listed below: If the driver is convicted of a DUI When a person is convicted of a DUI, that individual is prohibited from driving an ambulance […]

read more »