The legality of searches and seizures is an important issue to consider in any criminal defense case. Under the United States Constitution, searches and seizures must be reasonable, and there is a significant body of case law dictating what law enforcement officers are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do under the Constitution.
Sometimes, search and seizure issues come up in criminal cases and it becomes necessary to appeal them to reach the right result. Just this week, the United States Supreme Court ruled in several cases involving the issue of whether police are required to obtain a search warrant before taking blood alcohol tests. Each of the three cases that came up on appeal involved drivers who challenged implied consent laws in Minnesota and North Dakota, alleging that the laws called for unreasonable searches and seizures by imposing criminal penalties upon motorists who refuse to submit to chemical testing.
Implied consent laws, as readers may know, require drivers in all 50 states to submit to testing to determine alcohol or drug intoxication. Most states do not make it a crime to refuse to submit, but 11 states do currently impose criminal penalties for chemical test refusal. New York is not among them.
In New York, those who refuse to submit to a chemical test will have their license suspended and the refusal can be used against them in court when they are tried on alcohol or drug-related charges. The motorist’s driver’s license will be revoked even if he or she is found to be not guilty of the alcohol or drug violation.
In our next post, we’ll look at the Supreme Court’s decision in the case and why it is important to always work with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing drunk driving-related charges.
The New York Times, “High Court Limits Drunk Driving Test Laws,” June 23, 2016.
New York Department of Motor Vehicles, “Driver’s Manual & Practice Tests: Chapter 9: Alcohol and Other Drugs,” Accessed June 24, 2016.