Supreme Court Rules Officers Need A Warrant Before Blood Test After Drunk Driving Arrest

Supreme Court Rules Officers Need A Warrant Before Blood Test After Drunk Driving Arrest

If you are facing drunk driving charges, it is crucial to secure an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight tirelessly on your behalf. This summer, the Supreme Court clarified limits the Constitution places officers measuring blood alcohol content after a suspected drunk driving arrest.

The court ruled in June that police officers need a warrant to run a blood test of a motorist suspected of drunk driving, but they do not need a warrant to conduct a breath test under the same or similar circumstances.

The court considered three separate appeals, two from North Dakota and one from Minnesota, all involving men who had been arrested and threated with criminal charges if they refused to submit to an alcohol test. All three refused, but were tested anyway and found to be very inebriated. Two were subjected to a blood test and the third had to do a breath test. All three faced criminal charges for initially refusing the tests.

All three appealed, arguing bringing criminal charges violated their Fourth Amendment right, which usually prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Lower courts didn’t agree with their argument, but the Supreme Court agreed in part with it. When it came to blood testing, the court ruled states couldn’t conduct them unless they have obtained a warrant prior to the test.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests and in most cases amply serve law enforcement interests, we conclude that a breath test, but not a blood test, may be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving.”

In the dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomyer would’ve have required officers to obtain a warrant for breath tests in addition to the blood tests.

Sotomyer wrote, “I fear that if the Court continues down this road, the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement will become nothing more than a suggestion.”

The laws often change and evolve. If you are facing any type of driving under the influence charges or other criminal charges, it is important to seek the cousel of an experienced criminal attorney. Call Albo Oblon today for your free, initial consultation.

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