Police and prosecutors oppose a proposed bill in Montana that would allow someone arrested for driving under the influence to call an attorney before taking a blood alcohol test.

Rep. Rick Maedje, who sponsored the bill, says it isn’t about drunk driving but about protecting constitutional rights.

“Constitutional protection is not a loophole,” he said. “Miranda should start immediately after someone is asked to incriminate themselves.”

Lt. Mark Muir of the Missoula Police Department believes the bill would prevent law enforcement officers from doing their job. The new bill would not allow police to take a person’s driver’s license or administer a blood test before hearing from the subject’s attorney. A delay of hours waiting for an attorney to return his client’s call could result in a much diluted blood alcohol test that would not accurately determine if the driver was legally drunk when stopped.
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