February 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Supreme Court set to rule on important DUI case
Article provided by Eric A. Sunness, Attorney At Law, LLC
Visit us at http://www.northerncoloradolawyer.com
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a DUI case that may prove to have important implications for suspects' Fourth Amendment rights. The specific question at issue in Missouri v. McNeely is whether police may take a blood sample from a suspect even though they have neither a warrant to do so nor the suspect's consent.
At approximately 2:00am on the morning of October 3, 2010, a Missouri highway patrol officer stopped Tyler McNeely for speeding in the town of Cape Girardeau. After speaking to McNeely, the officer began to suspect that he had been drinking and he requested that McNeely perform a series of standard field sobriety tests, all of which McNeely failed. When the officer twice asked McNeely to submit to a Breathalyzer test to determine his blood alcohol concentration, he refused. The officer then transported McNeely to a local medical clinic where he asked whether he would submit to a blood test to determine BAC. After McNeely refused, the officer directed medical staff to perform the test. Results indicated that McNeely's BAC was nearly twice the .08 legal limit and the officer immediately arrested him for DUI.
Before trial, McNeely's attorney argued that the blood test evidence should be excluded from trial because it was the result of a warrantless, nonconsensual search, which is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. The trial court agreed, but its decision was overturned on appeal. The Missouri appellate court, relying on the 1966 Supreme Court decision Schmerber v. California, held that there are some instances where a police officer must act - even without a warrant or a suspect's consent - before evidence is destroyed. In this case, the alcohol in McNeely's blood stream constituted evidence, which was, in effect, being destroyed as McNeely's body metabolized it. The Missouri supreme court, however, disagreed with the appellate court and upheld the trial court's decision to exclude the evidence.
The state of Missouri, with support from federal law enforcement agencies, decided to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court's decision is expected later this summer.
Contact an experienced DUI attorney
If you or someone you love has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can assess your case, explain the likely effect of a plea deal or conviction and help you protect your rights. For more information about what a criminal defense attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.---
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