PA Appellate Court Reverses DUI Conviction Because No Informed Consent for Blood Draw
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has recently reaffirmed the law on informed consent and blood draws: in order for evidence of a motorist’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to be admitted into court in a DUI case, the police officer must have provided the motorist with his or her “O’Connell Warnings” before the officer obtained the motorist’s consent to perform the blood draw. The “O’Connell Warnings” are those warnings found in 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547 and which are set forth in detail in PennDOT’s DL-26B form which police officers are required to read out loud to motorists:
“It is my duty as a police officer to inform you of the following:
- You are under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of Section 3802 of the Motor Vehicle Code.
- I am requesting that you submit to a chemical test of blood.
- If you refuse to submit to the blood test, your operating privilege will be suspended for at least 12 months. If you previously refused a chemical test, or were previously convicted of driving under the influence, you will be suspended for up to 18 months.
- You have no right to speak with an attorney or anyone else before deciding to submit to testing. If you request to speak with an attorney or anyone else after being provided with these warnings, or you remain silent when you are asked to submit to a blood test, you will have refused the test.”
In Commonwealth v. Krenzel, 209 A.3d 1024, the arresting police officer simply asked the motorist to submit to a blood test without reading her the “O’Connell Warnings” as set forth on the DL-26B form. The motorist consented to the test and was later convicted of the highest rate DUI, which carries the most severe penalties. Because the O’Connell warnings were not provided to the motorist by the police officer, the Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated the trial court’s judgment of sentence, reversed the trial court’s denial of the motorist’s suppression motion and ordered a new trial. Now, the Commonwealth, if it decides to proceed again with trial, will have to do so without the BAC results. This takes the DUI charge with the most severe penalties off the table.
If you are involved in a DUI, make sure to have experienced DUI attorneys representing you. Contact the DUI and criminal defense attorneys at Scaringi Law for a free initial consultation.