In Commonwealth v. Ciccola, a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that a person does not have the right to consult counsel before submitting to a blood alcohol content test after an arrest for driving under the influence. The Court found that the test is similar to a search and seizure after a police officer finds probable cause. According to the Court, though theoretically, the police could seek to obtain an arrest warrant before requesting the test, that would be impractical due to the transitory or unstable nature of the evidence sought by the test. Pennsylvania, along with many other states, has enacted implied-consent laws regarding blood alcohol content tests. Such legislation is based on the assumption that a driver has consented to a BAC test prior to driving the vehicle. Under those laws, the driver is allowed to refuse the test. The defendant in this case was read a statement that a request to speak with an attorney before submitting to the test, constituted a refusal.
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