It’s 3:00 a.m. and you’ve just been pulled over for DUI. The officer is asking you to submit to a breath test. You’ve already taken a portable breath test, but the officer refuses to tell you what the result was. You know you’ve had a few beers and are afraid if you take the test, it will show that you are over the legal limit. So after giving it some thought, you decide to refuse the breath test, thinking that if you refuse the tests the cops, will be left without a test result to use against you in court.
Guess again! The officer does not have to accept the refusal and simply move forward. Instead, the officer has an option of seeking a search warrant to draw your blood by force.
To make it even easier, Utah Law has been amended to allow officers to seek an electronically communicated warrant. That means that, in addition to getting a warrant by seeking out a judge in person, officers can request warrants by fax, phone or email. The new e-warrant system allows the officer to email his request for a warrant to an on- call judge, who can review the request for a warrant in a matter of minutes and email the officer back an approved warrant with an electronic signature. A Utah DUI Attorney will be able to help you in this area.
What once was a time-consuming process requiring the officer to drive to a judge’s house to have the judge sign a warrant can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes with the use of a computer and the internet. The officer simply fills in the blanks on a warrant form preloaded on the officer’s in-car laptop computer and emails it directly to an on-call judge.
The use of the new e-warrant system, in conjunction with the certification of many police officers to conduct blood draws on their own arrestees as well as individuals arrested by other officers, means that more and more drivers who refuse the chemical test are having their blood drawn pursuant to a warrant and even by force if necessary.
By our estimates warrants are being issued in over half of the cases where the driver refuses to submit to the test. If the driver refuses and the officer obtains a warrant for a blood draw, not only does the driver risk the potential consequences of an administrative refusal suspension for 18 to 36 months along with an alcohol restriction for 5 to 10 years and an ignition interlock restriction for a minimum of 23 years, the police and prosecution may still get a test result to use against the Defendant in court.
So when faced with the decision of whether or not to submit to the test the officer is requesting, keep in mind that the consequences of the refusal can be severe, and the officer may still get a test result through the use of a warrant. So choose wisely or you may be contacting a Utah DUI Attorney .