In a recent decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state cannot require you to take a blood test in order to enforce its drunk driving laws. Subject to certain exceptions, the police must get a warrant.

Under the Illinois implied consent law, you are deemed to have consented to DUI tests once you are arrested for DUI. You may still refuse the tests, but your refusal comes at a price—the extended suspension of your driver’s license. In its recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed a North Dakota law which subjected a driver to criminal penalties for refusing a blood test.

The court held that breath tests are not intrusive and do not violate privacy concerns. A blood test, however, is another matter. Blood tests pierce the skin and blood can be stored for other purposes besides DUI evidence. While the state may fear that evidence of alcohol will be lost as blood metabolizes, a breath test provides police with a less intrusive option than a blood test, and a breath test may be performed as part of a search incident to an arrest. Therefore, drivers cannot be criminally punished for refusing to submit to a blood test.

Police may still draw your blood with your consent. Even then, the state must follow certain rules for taking and storing the sample.

If your blood was taken without your consent for a DUI, consult an experienced attorney immediately. Depending on how and why the sample was taken, you may have grounds to suppress the test results. Even if the police strictly followed the law, a DUI attorney can probe for other weaknesses in the state’s case, or if all else fails, negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you might do on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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