Pennsylvania v. Bell (majority)Annotate this Case
Following his arrest on suspicion of DUI in May 2015, appellant Thomas Bell was transported to the Lycoming County DUI Center. There, a detective read the PennDOT DL-26 form to appellant and he refused to submit to a blood test. Appellant was subsequently charged with DUI — general impairment, and a summary traffic offense for failing to use required lighting. Appellant filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss, arguing he had a constitutional right to refuse to submit to a warrantless blood test and thus evidence of his refusal should be suppressed and the DUI charge dismissed. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted discretionary review to determine whether Section 1547(e) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. §1547(e), which expressly allowed the Commonwealth to introduce evidence at trial that a defendant charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) refused to submit to chemical testing, violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Supreme Court concluded the evidentiary consequence authorized by Section 1547(e) was constitutional, and affirmed the order of the Superior Court.