Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrant Required to Obtain Blood Test in DUI Case

The U. S. Supreme Court announced today that it will hear an appeal of a Missouri DUI case concerning whether police officers must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on a drunk driving suspect.  Various State and Federal Appellate Courts h ave been divided on the issue.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that police must obtain a a warrant in order to take a suspect’s blood except in certain special circumstances, such as when a delay could threaten a life or destroy potential evidence.  Many other courts have ruled that the dissipation of alcohol in the blood provides a good enough reason to allow police to take a blood test without getting a warrant.

In the Missouri case the defendant refused to submit to a breath test.  His blood test registered a blood alcohol content of .154 percent, well above the legal limit of .08 percent.  The trial court hearing the case suppressed the blood alcohol evidence, and the ruling was upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Missouri v. McNeely, 11-1425.

William K. Bradford – Bradford Ladner, LLP.

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