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Bill Would Allow Police Officers to Seek Search Warrant for Blood-Alcohol Tests in DUI Cases

Refusing to take a blood alcohol concentration test for suspicion of drunken driving could become more difficult under legislation approved by the state Senate.

Senate Bill 74 would allow police to seek a search warrant for blood alcohol concentration tests in all driving under the influence (DUI) investigations. Under current law, police can only seek a search warrant for the tests in DUI investigations that involve serious injury or death.

Sponsor Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Crofton) said no other similar exemption to seeking a search warrant exists in Kentucky’s criminal code.

Kentucky motorists can have their licenses taken for refusing to take the tests under that current law, but according to testimony given during a committee hearing on SB 74, the penalties have been somewhat blunted by the use of ignition interlocks. Those are Breathalyzer-type devices connected to the ignition systems of vehicles. That’s because motorists charged with DUI can sometimes get back behind the wheel by agreeing to install the devices.

SB 74 passed by a 31-4 vote. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Sen. Whitney Westerfield (LRC)