July 15, 2020 Feature

The Privacy Implications of DUI Refusals and Forced Blood Alcohol Tests: What Judges Can Do

by Hon. Zuberi Bakari Williams

Usually, a refusal to take an alcohol breath test ends the collection of evidence of alcohol for routine DUI stops. (DUI and DWI are used interchangeably for the purposes of this article. The focus is on all alcohol-related driving offenses.) In most jurisdictions, a refusal allows the prosecutor to argue for a negative inference against the driver, but that typically results in pleas and convictions for lesser alcohol-related offenses. Without some horrible accident or shocking behavior by the driver caught on police body-worn camera, a refusal significantly alters the prosecution of DUI cases. That is, until now.

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