Supreme Court Hesitant About Blood Tests for DUI Suspects

February 22nd, 2013 at 4:08 pm

ChristineThe Fourth Amendment in the US Constitution states 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, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Plainly put, it guarantees the right of people’s privacy and lives without the intrusion of the government unless enough evidence has been provided to then get a warrant from a judge to make it all legal. So when government officials search a person without a warrant, red flags of unconstitutionality arises.

Tyler McNeely of Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, was stopped by a state trooper because he was speeding and swerving. His two previous drunken driving convictions made him aware to be careful  this third time of being caught – to which he then refused to take a breath test the officer asked him to take to see what his alcohol level was in his body. He ultimately failed a few field sobriety tests as well as was slurring his speech and wobbly. All this evidence caused the officer to arrest him and take him to the hospital to draw blood while being handcuffed out of his will. His blood-alcohol content was .154 percent, way above the legal level .08 percent. In most cases, police need to have a warrant to take blood from a suspect unless it is obvious that if they wait it could threaten a life or destroy evidence. Almost half the states do not allow blood tests without warrants in drunken-driving cases. Ultimately the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the dismissal. The case is now being heard at the Supreme Court level in Missouri vs. McNeely, 11-1425 with a decision expected this summer.

If you have been forced into getting a blood test without a warrant, please contact a lawyer who is experienced in DUI law in Illinois.

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