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SCOTUS Ruling About DUI Blood Tests Brings Up Va State Law

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

April 18, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must try to get a warrant before testing blood in a DUI case. A local attorney says he's not sure how this will affect Virginia because the state has its own law regarding DUI's.

It's called the implied consent law and everyone signs the consent form when they get their driver's license.

"The implied consent form is signed where...?" says an Albemarle County resident and mother of a 10-year-old.

Many others had the same reaction and don't remember signing the form. Her daughter still has a few more years before she gets her drivers license but as a mother, she hopes the DMV will make new drivers aware of what they're signing. She says it'll make for safer roads.

"When they're sixteen and they're in there signing that paper that says If you drink and drive that it is a mandatory thing to do the breathalizer test, if they actually told them what they're signing, that would deter them from watning to drink and drive and think they won't get caught. "

"You sign it and you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol concentration should you be detained for driving under the influence," said Lt. Ronnie Roberts of the Charlottesville Police Department.

In Virginia, Attorney Scott Goodman says more than 90% of DUI cases involve breath tests because the state moved away from even offering blood tests a long time ago.

"In Virginia the blood test is resorted to instead of a breath test when someone is physically injured around the area of their mouth or have asthma and can't take a breath test. Or when the officer suspects some sort of mixture of alcohol and drugs," Goodman said.

The breath test is just as accurate and much more efficient for law enforcement officers, Roberts said. And therefore, he says he doesn't know how this Supreme Court ruling about needing search warrants for blood tests, will really affect Virginia.

"I'm sure the Attorney General will be reviewing this particular case and how it might affect Virginia and all of the law enforcement in the state," Roberts said.

Two 18-year-olds, just got their licenses about 2 years ago and say they don't even remember the form but they've already made their minds up about drunk driving.

"My sister has friends who died in high school in a drunk driving accident. So, I saw her go through that so I would never put me or my friends in a situation like that," said Maggie Buschey, Monticello High School student.

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