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Supreme Court rules in favor of new DUI law

Many Michigan residents have had close calls with drinking and driving. Facing a DUI charge can often result in serious consequences including heavy fines, jail time and license suspension to name a few.

Due to the severity of a DUI conviction, many offenders will refuse a blood alcohol test in the hopes that their charges will be dropped. Individuals who refuse can often face heavier consequences but after a Supreme Court ruling, police will now be required to obtain a warrant before subjecting a drunken-driving suspect to a blood alcohol test.

In an eight-to-one vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must have a warrant before they can test an offenders BAC level via blood test. To be considered intoxicated or under the influence in Michigan, an offender must have a BAC of 0.08 or higher. If people refused to take a breathalyzer test, they may face an additional one-year driver's license suspension and have six points added to their driving record. Therefore, this ruling prevents officers from implementing a BAC blood test until they have a proper warrant unless it is an emergency situation.

With today's society and technology, the Supreme Court determined that it would not take very long for law officials to obtain a warrant. Judge Sonia Sotomayor said "police can often obtain a warrant quickly by using their cell phones or by email." While the new law does not provide immunity for DUI offenders it may help in their defense since evidence obtained in an illegal search -- like a BAC level obtained by blood test without a warrant -- cannot be used in court.

Source: NPR, "Supreme Court Backs Warrants For Blood Tests in DUI Cases," Nina Totenberg, April 17, 2013

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