Recent Change in the Law

Here is an update on a recent change in the OUI law due to a case decided by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC). 

I did a video on this subject a few months back, and this decision affects some of what we said in that video. The change has to do with when the police can actually take your blood in a drunk driving case? In that video, I talked about the two ways in which they could do that. Until now law allowed the police to draw blood if they have either (a) a search warrant or (b) your consent to do so. Choose one of our Woburn, Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys.

Only Applies to OUI / DUI Cases 

In November of 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided a new case which changes this law for OUI/ DUI cases only. While it is a limited to only DUI/OUI cases, it’s an important change.

No Blood Can be Taken Without Consent

They decided that for drunk driving cases, the police must now have your consent to draw your blood. Having a warrant is not enough. While the constitution allows either, there is a Massachusetts law which requires the person to consent. This law is the “implied consent law.” This law says that if you refuse to consent to blood being taken, that they can’t force you to do it. 

In the case, the person refused to have his blood drawn at the hospital after a serious accident. The police suspected he was driving drunk. The police got a warrant from the courts. They then held the guy down on his hospital bed and took his blood. The Court said this was wrong under the implied consent law. If the person does not consent, you cannot take their blood by force. 

Keep in mind that this only applies to OUI / DUI cases. In other types of cases, such as a murder investigation, it is permissible to take your blood with a warrant. Even if you do not consent.

Just Say “No”

The last point I want to make is something we often tell people. You should never give your consent. Whenever the police ask for your consent, you always have the right to say “no.” 

This includes when the police ask to take your blood in a drunk driving case. If you do say no, the police have to respect that. The only way they’re going to ever get your blood is if you say, “yes” and give your consent. My advice to everybody is to never do that. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me. I’ll be happy to speak with you about it.