Appeals court rules drunk driving testing law unconstitutional

The law is not a fixed object incapable of change, and as years go on many new laws are implemented while others are struck down. An Illinois court recently ruled that a current DUI law is unconstitutional, which ultimately led to the reversal of one man's conviction. This change could also have implications for individuals accused of drunk driving in the future.

The Illinois appellate court case revolved around a man's conviction for first-degree murder, which landed him with a 40-year prison sentence. The man was involved in a car accident that caused the death of another person. After his arrest, he refused to submit to urine or blood samples, but police insisted that state law gave them permission to do so regardless of his objections. Police then waited three hours and did not bother asking for a warrant before they forced him to provide both urine and blood samples.

His appeal centered around police carrying out further testing without a warrant. One person noted that it is unreasonable to give police the power to forcibly perform blood or urine tests on anyone who is involved in an accident. The appeals court agreed, overturning the man's conviction and ruling the law allowing officers to do so unconstitutional.

Unless there is an emergency, Illinois police will no longer be allowed to force those accused of drunk driving to submit to blood and urine tests. It is unclear how this will play out in the future, but these tests are not necessary for filing DUI charges, and drivers may still be facing criminal allegations even if they never comply with any testing whatsoever. As with any criminal charges, it is usually a good idea to fully understand how current laws apply, which is often best accomplished with guidance from an experienced counsel.

Source: ilnews.org, "Section of Illinois DUI law ruled unconstitutional", Jan. 7, 2018

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