Did you know that your consent is required for law enforcement to take blood or urine tests?
Prior to July of 2017, state law held that drivers of motor vehicles in Tennessee had “given consent” to a urine or blood test or a breathalyzer at the discretion of law enforcement to determine their blood alcohol content simply by the act of driving on the roadways. If a driver refused to submit to one of those tests, the driver suffered penalties – license revocation, fines and fees, and often jail time.
But last year the United States Supreme Court determined the implied consent laws to be unconstitutional, stating that states cannot criminalize a suspect’s refusal to submit to a forensic test. This means that law enforcement officers now need actual consent to take blood or urine, or they must obtain a search warrant to obtain those tests. A warrant is not required for a breath test, however, because it is less intrusive than the other tests.
So as a driver in Tennessee after July of 2017, you have given (implied) consent for a breath test at an officer’s discretion if you are suspected of driving under the influence. The officer must inform a driver of the consequences of refusing to take a breath test or the driver’s license cannot be revoked..