The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear three cases which are consolidated for a single argument. The critical issue is whether a state can make it a crime for citizens suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) to refuse a breath or blood tests. The cases are from Minnesota and North Dakota The North Dakota law provides that "refusal to take the test directed by the law enforcement officer is punishable in the same manner as driving under the influence."
it is a bedrock principle of our constitutional rights that a citizen cannot be compelled to give evidence against oneself. However, police can obtain search warrants to force an citizen to submit to a blood alcohol test. In these cases , the issue is can you be charged with a crime for asserting your constitutional rights.
In Tennessee it is a crime under T.C.A. 55-10-407 to refuse a request for a blood or alcohol test if you are driving on a revoked driver’s license due to a prior DUI conviction. a violation of this statute is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a jail sentence of a least 5 days if convicted.
If the U..S. Supreme Court allows these laws to stand, it creates a entirely new set of problems.
- I refuse to consent to a search of my car.
- I refuse to consent to a search my house.
Will these be criminal offenses in the future.