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Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing

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Birchfield is not applicable to civil license suspension appeal.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Criminal Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

The Commonwealth Court of PA in Boseman v. DOT, No. 746 C.D. 2016 (March 17, 2017) held that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, is not applicable to a civil license suspension.  In Birchfield, the Supreme Court reasoned that one could not be penalized by an enhanced criminal penalty for the assertion of one's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.  This was applicable to a DUI case.  However, in Boseman, one could not assert that one's failure to provide a blood draw in a civil suspension matter, which is civil and not criminal in nature, was against one's Fourth Amendment right.

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