A United States Supreme Court ruling has resuted In a victory for Fourth
Amendment Rights, which protect us from unreasonable searches and seizure
of ouselves and our property by governmental agencies. The amendment was
drafted by our Nation's Founding Fathers as a response to the invasive
policies of the British, who would routinely seize personal property and
detain and arrest persons without any due process or compensation.
In this case a police officer ordered a blood draw on a man suspected of
DUI without his consent and without a warrant..
In Missouri vs. McNeely, Mr. McNeely was stopped and detained by a Missouri
Highway Patrolman for speeding. The Officer suspected Mr. McNeely of being
intoxicated and asked him to perform Field Sobriety Testing, to which
he consented and, according to the Officer, performed poorly. (See earlier post on Field Sobriety Testing)
Due to his performance on the FST's, McNeely was asked to take a
Breathalyzer Test. He refused. The Officer then transported Mr. McNeely to a local hospital
where he ordered the staff to take a sample of his blood. At no time did
Mr. McNeely consent to having his blood drawn, and at no time did the
Officer attempt to get a warrant to do so.
This case worked its way up to the Missouri Supreme Court which held that
the results of the blood test were inadmissible because they were obtained
illegally, without consent and without a valid warrant. The United States
Supreme Court has upheld that ruling in a 5-4 decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court held that the metabolism of alcohol does not create
an exigent or emergency circumstance that would allow the circumvention
of the warrant requirement.
The Missouri Supreme Court had also noted that warrants for Blood Draws
on individuals suspected of DUI can usually be easily obtained, the Officer
in this case made no attempt to do so.
This Missouri case makes it clear that states do not have the authority
to pierce your skin with a needle and take your blood without first obtaining
a legal warrant.
The decision by SCOTUS is a victory, but does not change the fact that
a DUI charge is a serious matter that carrries potentially heavy penalties.
If you have been charged with
DUI in Kansas or Missouri, contact us for a
free consultation or fill out aFree Case Evaluation Form on our