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DUI breath testing goes to Supreme Court

Ohio motorists may be interested in an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the use of breath tests in DUI stops. Media sources report that the nation's highest court is expected to rule on whether motorists may be charged with a crime for refusing to submit to breath testing in situations where police lack warrants.

This case follows on the heels of a previous Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that concerned blood testing. In that case, the Supreme Court decided that officers needed a warrant in order to compel motorists under suspicion of DUI to submit to blood testing. As such, it has been argued that breath testing should be similarly protected.

In general, the law requires law enforcement personnel to secure warrants before searching people and their property. However, exceptions might be made in some circumstances, such as if a motorist is suspected of DUI. The present case originated in Minnesota and North Dakota, where some drivers were charged after refusing breath testing after their arrests. Though the Minnesota Supreme Court decided in favor of the state for some of the plaintiffs, the appellate process has nevertheless brought it before the Supreme Court for review.

People who have been issued with felony DUI charges may want to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney rather than attempt to act alone. In some cases, the attorney can challenge the roadside sobriety or breath tests that led to the charges. An attorney may also find it advisable to seek an arrangement whereby the defendant would agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced penalty.

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