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Supreme Court Rules that Police get Warrants for DUI Blood Tests

This story is a month old but important for the nature of the website since we represent individuals charged with a DUI. In this case the US Supreme Court ruled with a citizen who felt his 4th amendment rights had been compromised when a Missouri police officer ordered his blood taken for a DUI test.

Tyler McNeely was arrested after a state trooper observed him driving erratically. McNeely refused to take a Breathalyzer test so the officer drove him to a local hospital and ordered blood drawn for an alcohol test. The officer did not seek a warrant, even though he had done so in previous cases. The state of Missouri contended that because alcohol naturally dissipates in the bloodstream, each passing moment means valuable evidence is being lost, and so a warrant is never required for a blood draw.

The officers defense was that it was an emergency since the BAC level dissipates over time as the defendants body filters the alcohol out of his system. The initial Trial sided with the defendant as did the Missouri Court of Appeals. The State of Missouri took the case to the US Supreme Court and lost in an 8-1 decision.

While the ruling does not say that there must always be a warrant it does say that the “police must generally obtain a warrant before subjecting a drunken-driving suspect to a blood test.”

What does this mean if you or someone you know has been cited for a DUI? It means you should hire experienced legal representation who will review if a warrant was issued for any blood tests and if not why. This is one of many things that a criminal defense lawyer should be doing to defend you in a court of law. If you have questions call us at 602-560-4004 for a Free Consultation.

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