Why Blood Testing for Alcohol or Drugs Does not Violate Your Constitutional Rights against Self Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents law enforcement from requiring an individual to be a witness against himself. Yet most states have implied consent laws that typically impose penalties against people who refuse to take breathalyzer or other tests of their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels. Since agreeing to a test amounts to self-incrimination, many people believe the law does not comply with the provisions in the Constitution.

The law also requires drivers to purchase certain levels of auto insurance in spite of a commerce clause that prohibits actions forcing individuals to buy any type of product. Similarly, the law says that anyone who chooses to drive consents to testing of BAC levels. The basic principle that enables both laws to impose these requirements is that driving is not considered a right, but a privilege. Therefore, anyone who chooses the privilege in effect agrees to the rules that go with it.

Requirements may vary to some degree from state to state. For example, the Maryland Driver’s Manual states that police with reasonable grounds to suspect impairment of a driver may have a drug recognition expert request that person to submit to a blood test. While the law does not compel a driver to take the test, police then issue a certified statement of refusal to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), which then suspends his or her license.

Drivers must consider their unique circumstances when making the decision to agree or refuse to take a blood alcohol test. Regardless of the choice you make, experienced DUI defense attorneys typically have a number of valid defenses they can use to help obtain the best possible results when you face DUI charges. Contact the Maryland car accident attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. if you have been convicted of a DUI and need legal help and representation.