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United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments for Warrantless Blood Tests in DUI Cases

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
In October,  2010, a police officer took a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol to a hospital. While handcuffed; a physician drew the person’s blood for a chemical test without  his consent and without a warrant.  The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the decision to suppress the evidence. This decision has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that before an otherwise unreasonable search can be executed on a person or their effects, a warrant be obtained from a neutral magistrate.  The issue before the Court is whether drawing blood from a suspect upon suspicion of driving under the influence (“DUI”) without a warrant, and not for medical treatment, is reasonable under the constitution On January 9, 2013 the Court heard arguments from both the state of Missouri and the defendant’s lawyers. All briefs and petitions filed on the case can be read here. The justices expressed concern for an automatic exception to the warrant requirement where the search is invasive like drawing blood.  They also showed concern for evidence being destroyed while a police officer waits to obtain a warrant.  No decision has yet been issued. Massachusetts’ law does not permit drawing blood without consent unless the suspect is receiving medical treatment.  However, this Supreme Court decision may change the way that Massachusetts interprets current law.  For more information about protection against a DUI charge, watch Attorney Brooks give his advice and contact Brooks & Crowley to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney.  

Contributed by Laura  Martin

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