Currently, if the police stop you on suspicion of DUI in Kentucky, you can refuse a blood draw to test your sobriety. Further, if arrested, prosecutors cannot use your refusal to have your blood drawn against you.
Those rights and protections could soon disappear if lawmakers have their way. A republican representative serving our state wants to abolish this law to make it easier to prosecute those who drive while intoxicated.
What does the current law say?
Unless you contributed to the injury or death of another, officers cannot obtain a warrant forcing you to undergo a blood draw. If the representative succeeds in striking this so-called loophole, it could be much harder to defend yourself against DUI charges.
For example, say you were involved in a car accident, and the responding officer suspects you are drunk. If no one suffered injuries in the crash, you have the right to refuse the officer’s request for a blood sample. Even more than that, the authorities cannot seek a warrant that would force you to comply.
Should you face an arrest anyway and take the case to trial, the prosecutor cannot tell the jury that you refused a blood test. The prosecutor may not even mention that your refusal to participate is why they lack evidence of your alleged drunkenness.
Support and opposition
Prosecutors have expressed their support in having this law struck down. On the other side of the coin, one Kentucky senator opposes this proposed change. He said the issue needs further study to avoid jailing innocent people for a week or more while awaiting blood test results.
If Kentucky DUI laws do change in this way, it will be more vital than ever for defendants to work hard on their defense. An experienced advocate can fill a critical role in this process.