Pursuant to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, the results of blood alcohol tests obtained without a warrant are inadmissible in many cases. Specifically, even if an officer obtained a defendant’s consent prior to the test, the consent will be deemed invalid if it was provided following a warning of increased criminal penalties for refusing to submit. In the wake of Birchfield, courts throughout the country continue to determine when and how the ruling should apply. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling in a Pennsylvania DUI case that was pending when the Birchfield decision was issued. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to determine your rights.
The History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant struck two pedestrians while driving her vehicle. Police investigating the accident asked her to submit to field sobriety testing. She agreed and performed poorly. She then submitted to a breath test and was arrested for multiple DUI offenses and transported to the police station. When she arrived there, she was read the implied consent warnings and submitted to a blood test.
Allegedly, before the defendant’s hearing, she filed a motion to suppress the results of her blood test based on the Birchfield ruling. The trial court granted the motion, after which the Commonwealth appealed. The issue went through multiple additional rounds of appeals and was ultimately remanded to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.