Should refusing to take a drunk driving test be a crime?

Drivers in Michigan are not required to agree to testing if stopped for drunk driving, but in several states, laws do exist that can result in penalties for refusing to take drunk driving tests. The constitutionality of such laws has been challenged several times in various states, and the Supreme Court announced on December 11 that they will rule on whether these laws can stand.

Thirteen states have laws against refusal to take drunk driving tests. Challenges to these laws from two states have been chosen by the Supreme Court for review. There are three cases in total that will be consolidated: two from North Dakota and one from Minnesota.

Lawyers for the defendants involved say that cases of this type have become more frequent since a 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court on drunk driving tests. In that ruling, the Court ruled that blood alcohol tests should not be conducted without a warrant. The question before the court now has two parts: Should breath tests also require a warrant, and are laws that make it a crime to refuse a test a violation of Constitutional rights?

The Supreme Court considered 13 total cases on these issues and chose three that were all filed by the same attorneys. These three cases involve different scenarios including blood alcohol testing and breath testing.

Drunk driving charges can be fought in court, and when there is evidence that police officers involved failed to follow procedures and laws during the traffic stop, this can be used in court to defend against the charges. Understanding the laws and drivers' rights could help someone who has been charged with drunk driving.

SOURCE: SCOTUSblog, 'Court to rule on drunk-driving tests," Lyle Denniston, December 11, 2015