SCOTUS Rules Cops Must Obtain Warrant Before Blood Test

Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Fairfax, Leesburg & Manassas, Virginia

Posted: April 18, 2013
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Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that police officers must get a warrant before they subject a suspected drunk driver to a blood test. Their decision came as an 8-to-1 win; Justice Clarence Thomas was the only neigh in the bunch.

This comes as a big win for drivers such as Missourian Tyler McNeely, who was stopped one night after a state trooper saw him driving erratically. McNeely refused a Breathlyzer test; the trooper then took him to a local hospital where his blood was drawn, without a warrant. The state of Missouri argued that because the rate alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream, every minute passed is wasting valuable evidence, therefore a warrant should not be required to draw blood. SCOTUS, however, disagreed, saying that there is, in most circumstances, enough time for the police to obtain a warrant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that in today’s technology a police officer can easily obtain a warrant through their cellphone; because a magistrate is available 24 hours a day, this makes it even more possible and easy for police.

However, if there is an emergency case then police can draw without a warrant and this will be hashed out later in court, but it is solely on a case-by-case basis with the blood draw warrant being practically mandatory. Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter, sided with Missouri, stating that the alcohol dissipation rate in the blood stream justifies the police drawing blood without a warrant.

If you or a loved one is facing a DWI charge, with or without a refusal charge, give us a call today for your free consultation. You can reach The Gordon Law Firm at 703-218-8416 or toll-free at 866-591-6682.

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