Attorney General Daniel Cameron last week asked the United States Supreme Court to review a decision by the Supreme Court of Kentucky that struck down important parts of Kentucky’s implied-consent laws, which require individuals suspected of impaired driving to submit to a breath or blood test if requested by law enforcement.
The Supreme Court of Kentucky’s decision allows an individual to refuse a blood test and prohibits that refusal from being held against him or her in court. Prosecutors across the Commonwealth have expressed concern with the court’s opinion, noting that the decision creates challenges for impaired-driving prosecutions.
“Prosecutors should be given every reasonable tool to prosecute individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We know that many of Kentucky’s impaired driving offenses involve drugs, and blood testing is essential to hold these offenders accountable. A case with these stakes deserves consideration by our nation’s highest court.”
In 2020 alone, the Kentucky State Police reported that drugs were involved in 1,873 collisions, resulting in 86 fatalities and 1,086 injuries. In Attorney General Cameron’s request to the U.S. Supreme Court, he writes that “allowing States to admit a motorist’s refusal of a blood draw serves as a powerful deterrent to impaired driving.”
The petition points out that the Supreme Court of Kentucky is the first–and only–appellate court in the nation to rule that refusing a blood draw cannot be admitted in a criminal prosecution under the Fourth Amendment. Nine other appellate courts have reached a contrary conclusion.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide this spring whether to hear the case.