The Birchfield Case and DUI Blood Tests

Montgomery County Attorney Helping You Fight Drunk Driving Charges

Zachary Cooper is a Montgomery County DUI lawyer who represents people in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Mr. Cooper’s experience as a former Assistant District Attorney gives him helpful insights into how to build strong defenses for the drivers whom he represents. Mr. Cooper is dedicated to fighting aggressively for the rights of his clients while sensitively guiding them through what can be a complicated legal process.

Limits on Blood Tests in DUI Cases

Many Pennsylvania DUI cases come down to evidence. The central questions are often what evidence the police need to show that someone was driving under the influence, and whether they obtained that evidence in a lawful way. Physical evidence in DUI cases often includes the results of a breath, urine, blood, or chemical test to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). A driver whose BAC is 0.08 percent or more is considered legally intoxicated and unfit to drive. Recently, in a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court explained that the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to an arrest for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests.

The Court ruled in the case of Birchfield v. North Dakota that people have a right to privacy that protects them from being forced to provide a blood sample if they are suspected of driving under the influence. This opinion articulates the idea that blood tests are different from breath tests, which are less intrusive and which police may continue to ask drivers to take with the threat of penalties for refusal.

After the Birchfield decision, police officers need to inform a driver that he or she has the right to refuse a blood test. The results of a blood test are likely to be excluded, which means that they may not be used as evidence against you in court, if the police officer fails to provide this warning. The Birchfield case may also have implications for drivers already facing DUI charges. If the police officer in your case failed to inform you of your right to refuse before forcing you to take a blood test, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether. This is one reason why it is critical to discuss your situation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

Consult a DUI Lawyer in Montgomery County or Surrounding Areas

If you or a loved one has been charged with or is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Montgomery County DUI attorney Zachary Cooper is available to advocate on your behalf. Mr. Cooper fights to ensure that police officers and prosecutors live up to their legal duties in DUI cases. These now include the requirement that police inform drivers of their right to refuse a blood test. Mr. Cooper represents people who need a drunk driving lawyer in the greater Philadelphia area, as well as in Bensalem, Allentown, Chester, West Chester, Easton, and other communities throughout Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Northampton, Lackawanna, Carbon, Luzerne, and Monroe Counties. Call (215) 542-0800 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.