Supreme Court Issues Important Ruling Regarding Warrantless Blood Tests :: Charlotte North Carolina DWI DUI Criminal Attorney Lawyer
Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: "Should I talk to the police?"
The Supreme Court handed down a major ruling last month in the Missouri v. McNeely case. The justices decided to reject the argument advocated by Missouri and the Obama administration that officers should never be required to secure a warrant prior to procuring a blood test against suspected drunk drivers. Instead, the Court decided that police officers should usually obtain judicial approval prior to ordering a blood draw.
The case revolved around Missourian, James McNeely's 2010 arrest. After being pulled over by a state trooper, McNeely failed several field sobriety tests and then refused to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine his blood alcohol level. Given his refusal, the officer took McNeely to a local hospital where he was strapped to a table and had his blood forcibly drawn, all without ever bothering to secure a warrant.
McNeely attempted to block the blood test from appearing in court, arguing that the results were illegally obtained. Prosecutors claimed that given the time of night and location of the arrest, that a warrant would have been impractical and taken at least two hours to secure. This delay was unacceptable, in their opinion, given that it might allow enough time for alcohol to leave McNeely's system.
Justice Sotomayor, writing for the majority, rejected Missouri's argument and decided that the police almost always have enough time to properly secure a warrant before forcing a blood draw. Sotomayor was willing to concede that some cases might require extraordinary actions without a warrant, but said that such instances would be dealt with on an individual basis.