Warrantless DUI Blood Tests Rejected

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all Law Enforcement Officers must obtain a valid warrant prior to requiring someone suspected of DUI or DWI to submit to a blood test without their consent.

Tyler McNeely was pulled over for speeding and improper lane use. Upon contact, the Reporting Officer alleged he detected a strong odor of consumed alcohol and that Mr. McNeely's eyes were bloodshot and glassy. He then had Mr. McNeely perform Field Sobriety Tests, which he rated as failing. Because Mr. McNeely stated that he would not take a breathalyzer, the Trooper transported him to a medical facility for blood alcohol testing against his will.

In Missouri v. McNeely, the Court of Appeals had upheld the warrantless withdrawal of McNeely's blood even though he had refused to give his consent to do so. In Missouri DUI law and Kansas DUI law you have the right to refuse any field sobriety testing, blood alcohol testing measured by a breath sample, and urine or blood sample testing. However, some juristictions in Missouri, see my earlier post on this subject, had been subjecting persons arrested for DUI or DWI to blood draws against their consent and without a warrant.

The case was transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court where the Judges ruled in favor of Mr. McNeely, citing that his rights were violated and that he was subjected to an unconstitutional search when a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper ordered a hospital employee to take a blood sample without his consent or a warrant.

This case upholds the right to refuse a warrantless blood test if arrested on suspicion of DUI or DWI, and restores some bit of consitutional protection in an area of law enforcement where constitutional rights are constantly being eroded. If you have any questions regarding DUI, DWI, or OUI contact our office today or submit a Case Evaluation form on our website.


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