State prosecutors are pleased with the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling this past week upholding mandatory DUI blood draws with a warrant.
Washington isn’t the only state that allows officers to seek a warrant when a DUI suspect refuses a breath test. Although the police here have been doing it here for some time, albeit rarely, this ruling is the final say in the matter.
If you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence a police officer can require a breath test. Because Washington has “implied consent” laws, you can be penalized for refusing the breath test by up to a one year driver’s license suspension.
If you refuse, the police can get a warrant to have your blood drawn. The Court ruled this does not violate due process or the state’s consent laws, according to this article from the Seattle Times.
The Court also ruled that the police do not have to warn the driver of a potential blood draw warrant.
Dissenters of the court’s ruling point out that the blood sample basically negates any right to refusal from the suspect. They argue that because the officer doesn’t have to warn the suspect, the person can refuse the breath test, face the one year license suspension, and still have to submit a blood sample.
If the suspected DUI driver was told about the warrant, they may agree to the breath test and sidestep the additional suspension and the footwork on the part of the officer and the judge signing the warrant.
Essentially, this ruling allows the system to say: “Oh, you refuse to take a breath test? That’s okay, we’ll just take your blood, potentially get a conviction, and tack on an additional 1 year suspension”.
If you are facing charges of DUI it can be very difficult to figure out what the proper course of action is. With confusing laws and procedures, it is normal to be stressed out about how you handled the arrest and what it might mean for your case.