January 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- US Supreme Court hears DUI warrantless blood draw case
As Americans, we enjoy certain rights spelled out in the United States Constitution. At times, questions regarding how to interpret certain provisions in the Constitution require input from the judiciary. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving our Fourth Amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." The Amendment goes on to discuss the warrant requirement, stating that warrants will not be issued without probable cause.
In the case recently before the high court, the justices had to consider whether warrants should always be required when obtaining a blood sample following a traffic stop, in which the motorist is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Missouri v. McNeely
The case arose when an individual was pulled over in Missouri in the middle of the night. The law enforcement officer indicated he stopped the driver because he was speeding, and proceeded to have the driver perform field sobriety tests. After the officer determined the driver had failed four field tests, the driver indicated he would not submit to a Breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.
Despite the driver's refusal, the police officer took him to the hospital, where he instructed a medical professional to take a blood sample. The police officer made no effort to obtain a warrant prior to ordering the blood sample. The driver never consented to having his blood drawn.
The Missouri Supreme Court refused to consider the results of the blood test, as they were obtained without a warrant.
Is a warrant required to obtain a blood sample in a DUI case?
The police officer in this particular case stated he did not obtain a warrant before ordering the blood draw because he did not think it was required. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blood could be taken without a warrant in very limited situations that were considered an emergency.
In this case, the state argued that warrants should never be required to obtain a blood sample in a drunk driving case because alcohol dissipates in the blood over time. The series of questions asked by the justices have led many to speculate that they do not agree. In fact, in many instances, a warrant can be obtained within the span of 30 minutes to an hour.
Consequently, the justices appeared hesitant to infringe on an individual's Fourth Amendment rights when the circumstances of a suspected DUIstop do not always constitute an emergency.
If you are facing drunk driving charges, consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney will ensure your rights are protected and a strong defense is established on your behalf.
Article provided by William Wallshein, P.A.
Visit us at http://www.wallsheincriminallaw.com---
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