Motor Vehicle Admin. v. DeeringAnnotate this Case
This case centered on the implied consent, administrative per se law (“Law”), under which a suspected drunk driver may choose either to take or to refuse a breath test to measure blood alcohol concentration. A test refusal or a particular test result both result in an automatic suspension of the driver’s license. At issue was whether a detained driver has a right to consult with legal counsel before making the decision of whether to take the breath test. The driver in this case (“Driver”) asked the arresting officer if she could call an attorney before making that choice. Driver's request was refused. Driver subsequently took the test, which indicated she had an elevated blood alcohol concentration. In accordance with the Law, Driver’s license was suspended for ninety days. An administrative law judge upheld Driver’s suspension. The circuit court reversed, concluding that the denial of Driver’s request to contact her attorney violated her right to due process. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that, even if a suspected drunk driver is denied the opportunity to consult counsel before deciding whether to take a breath test, the driver remains subject to the administrative license suspension that the test assigns to the test refusal or test result.