August 20, 2020 12 minutes to read ∙ 2800 words

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

By Hon. Zuberi Bakari Williams

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Reprinted with permission from Criminal Justice, Volume 35, Number 2, Summer 2020, at 27-35. ©2020 by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

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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