Is Miranda An Effective Protection Against Refusal to Submit to a Blood Alcohol Test ?

Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 16 L. Ed. 2d 908, 86 S. Ct. 1826 (1966), held that a State could force a defendant to submit to a blood-alcohol test without violating the defendant's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. We now address a question left open in Schmerber, id., at 765, and hold that the admission into evidence of a defendant's refusal to submit to such a test likewise does not offend the right against self-incrimination. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553, 554, 74 L. Ed. 2d 748, 103 S. Ct. 916 (1983). In the context of an arrest for driving while intoxicated, a police inquiry of whether the suspect will take a blood-alcohol test is not an interrogation within the meaning of Miranda. As we stated in Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 301, 64 L. Ed. 2d 297, 100 S. Ct. 1682 (1980), police words or actions "normally attendant to arrest and custody" do not constitute interrogation. The police inquiry here is highly regulated by state law, and is presented in virtually the same words to all suspects. It is similar to a police request to submit to fingerprinting or photography. Respondent's choice of refusal thus enjoys no prophylactic Miranda protection outside the basic Fifth Amendment protection. 459 U.S. at 564 n.15. Accord McGinty v. State, 723 S.W.2d 719, 721 (Tex. Cr. App. 1986) (also holding that the refusal to submit to the breathalyzer test did not result from a custodial interrogation for purposes of TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 38.22).