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Supreme Court Requires Warrant for DUI Blood Tests

April 17, 2013  | 

Photo via Lori Greig/Flickr.
Photo via Lori Greig/Flickr.

The United States Supreme Court required officers to obtain a warrant before drawing blood from a suspected drunk driver in a decision announced Wednesday.

The court ruled 5-4 in Missouri v. McNeely that a warantless blood draw would violate the Fourth Amendment unless the officer needed to prevent destruction or loss of evidence.

The court released four opinions on the case, including one from Justice Sonia Sotomayor in which she wrote that "Our ruling will not severely hamper law enforcement."

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Cam @ 4/18/2013 2:31 AM

I happen to be a disabled, retired police officer who does not believe what I just read. Just exactly how does Sotomayor know what will and will not 'hamper law enforcement'. After being forced to retire, I have tried to follow DUI's, and changes made to the laws already on the books. I was t-boned in my patrol car in 2003. Since 2003, I have seen even more tolerance by the public for these victimless crimes. Law enforcement have to beg lawmakers in my state just for a primary seat belt law. Regardless here in my state, whether it is your 5th felony DUI, or your 35th felony, the penalties are the same. Alcohol is a LEGAL drug, and look what happens to accidents involving alcohol. Now states are adding marijuana as another legal drug. Prescription meds for; sleep, pain, nerve pain, or anything else does not say 'do not drive while taking this medicine' on the label. It only says not to drive or operate heavy machinery or drive until you know how this medication affects you. In this day and age, there should be no such thing as any tolerance for the so-called 'disease' of those who drink and drive. If we cannot get the Supreme Court to understand this...well I have no idea except they need to go on some ride alongs with LEO's that they are 'not hampering' us to do our jobs. Have night court, watch an autopsy, tell a family member they just lost someone they loved to a DUI driver. There are answers out there, but who has the personal agenda of DUI's, otherwise it will go unchanged again, and again. The Supreme Court is making a mockery of itself, as any LEO can tell you when a person has had a prior DUI. The suspected driver, who allegedly hit some one, know the drill. NO COOPERATION with field sobriety tests (fst's) or blowing in a breathalyzer, will not happen if they know the system. Talk about tying the hands of law enforcement, again.

Mark @ 4/18/2013 7:42 PM

This is a bad article. This is NOT what the court ruled. See

Ima Leprechaun @ 4/18/2013 10:05 PM

I wonder how that will work with the implied consent rule.

DaveSAM5525G @ 4/19/2013 2:51 AM

My theory only - as the water has yet to be tested and tried and I could be off...The ruling was over whether law enforcement can withdraw blood from someone suspected of a DUI without their consent and without a search warrant. The court decided that violated a person's Fourth Amendment rights. In many states, law enforcement agencies that draw blood without consent could, up until Wednesday's ruling, draw it under two different laws - implied consent and exigent circumstances. “I think they are going to need a look at developing some procedures, which we work with agencies and judges and our prosecutors to see if we can expedite the process of getting a warrant.” But there's something else at play in many states that are an implied consent state, meaning if you drive on the highways of the state, you have given consent to submit to either breath, blood or urine tests when suspected of DUI. So, county prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have to figure out which way to lean on this now! The Supreme Court's ruling mainly deals with a more routine type DUIs. In the case of aggravated DUI with injuries and vehicular manslaughter, officers can perform a blood draw without a warrant or permission?

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