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State Lawmakers Consider New DWI Law, Local Attorney Says It's Unconstitutional

In New York State, a police officer has to obtain a warrant to test the blood alcohol level of drivers involved in accidents if they don't consent to the test.

But that could soon change if a bill passed by the State Senate becomes law.  The legislation would require blood-alcohol tests for all drivers involved in serious accidents.

The measure's sponsor is Senator Joe Robach of Greece. He says it's a way to hold drunk drivers responsible for the tragic consequences of their actions.

Rochester attorney Ed Fiandach specializes in DWI cases. He believes the legislation would not stand up to a constitutional test, based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case where a driver's blood was tested without a warrant. "And what it's going to mean is that you will see guilty motorists go free because their blood has been drawn under this statute, only to have a court say that it was drawn unconstitutionally and that a warrant should have been obtained."

Fiandach says in this era of DNA testing, the Supreme Court is more sensitive to the higher level of protection that we have over our blood.

The Senate bill has been sent to the Assembly.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.