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.