Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017
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Issue:  Criminality for Refusing to Take Chemical Test
Consolidated With:  Bernard v. Minnesota
Beylund v. Levi

Birchfield v. North Dakota

14-1468

QUESTION(S) PRESENTED

North Dakota law makes it a criminal offense for a motorist who has been arrested for driving under the influence to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person’s blood, breath, or urine to detect the presence of alcohol. The Supreme Court of North Dakota held that the State may criminalize any refusal by a motorist to submit to such a test, even if a warrant has not been obtained. The question presented is:

Whether, in the absence of a warrant, a State may make it a crime for a person to refuse to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s blood.

DECISION

Decided June 23, 2016 HOLDING

The Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests.

Concur Dissent image Justice Sotomayor
Concur Dissent Sotomayor
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Concur Dissent image Justice Thomas
Concur Dissent Thomas
Agree image Justice Scalia
Agree Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Concur Dissent image Justice Ginsburg
Concur Dissent Ginsburg
Author image Justice Alito
Author Alito
Agree image Justice Kagan
Agree Kagan

ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J, and KENNEDY, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part.

CERTIORARI STAGE

Granted December 11, 2015

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)

PROCEEDING BELOW

Supreme Court of North Dakota
Decided January 15, 2015
pdf download


SUPREME PODCAST COVERAGE

DATE TITLE CASE STAGE LISTEN NOW
2016-04-23 May States Criminalize the Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test? Oral Argument go to coverage
2016-06-26 May States Make it a Crime to Refuse a Breath or Blood Test? Opinion go to coverage