In Missouri v. McNeeley in Case No. 11-1425, the accused man was stopped by a police officer for speeding and weaving across lands of traffic. He refused to take a breath test, so the police arrested him and transported him to local hospital to have his blood drawn without a search warrant. The blood test registered over the legal limit, but he requested that the results be suppressed because his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the blood draw.
The officer claimed that an emergency existed as the alcohol was dissipating from his system. However, the trial court agreed that an emergency did not exist and suppressed the evidence. The case advanced to the State Supreme Court, and they also affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the suspect’s rights had been violated.
On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower courts and affirmed that the police do not automatically have the right to ask for a warrant for blood tests in all DUI cases. The urgency of drawing blood only applies in certain situations, such as if the driver is injured and can’t provide consent.
In a case that has implications for citizens across the nation, the U.S Supreme Court has upheld the Fourth Amendment rights of suspected drunk drivers. As a result of this ruling, law enforcement personnel across the nation will need to be careful when drawing blood from individuals who are stopped for DUI. Without extenuating circumstances, such as an injury, the evidence will be suppressed, and the case might be dismissed.
In addition, private individuals need to be aware of their rights when they are stopped for impaired driving. However, in many states, failure to submit to a breath test if a law enforcement officer requests one can result in separate charges and the suspension of a person’s driver’s license even if they are not impaired. 2 3 The case also carries implications for criminal defense attorneys who will need to brush up on the legal implications for clients who face drunk driving charged. Prosecuting attorneys will want to be sure that law enforcement personnel followed proper procedures during a DUI arrest.
Disclaimer: The content provided here has not been revised in any way or analyzed by Phoenix truck attorney firm Goldberg & Osborne. Subject matter was penned by an independent creator. Goldberg & Osborne assumes no legal responsibility and is making this content accessible for informative considerations only.