The United States Supreme Court will soon address whether someone pulled over by a law enforcement officer must submit to a blood test before that officer can obtain a warrant. This decision will affect DUI law in all vicinities – including Denver.
This case came about after a driver was pulled over for spending, but then was required to provide a blood sample – the sample which purportedly showed the driver’s blood alcohol level to be 0.154. The driver has now appealed this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, and asserts that evidence of this blood sample should not be allowed in as evidence at trial.
The driver’s argument comes down to the contention that mandating that drivers submit to a blood test results in an unreasonable search and seizure that is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. From the perspective of the driver, this is understandable in that blood tests can seem unnecessarily invasive.
However, the court in which this driver was originally tried held that there was no issue concerning unreasonable search and seizure in requiring that an individual provide a blood sample. And since alcohol will dissipate from the bloodstream, it was claimed that forcing the officers to wait will result in loss of evidence showing an individual was driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The driver is not alone in believing that warrants should be issued before blood samples are drawn. The Supreme Court for the state in which he resided reversed the trial court decision. Also, there have already been 27 states that have banned the warrantless and nonconsensual drawing of blood under these circumstances.
Hopefully, a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will clarify what is and is not permitted when it comes to such arrests being made. As the rule of law currently stands, attorneys experienced in defending suspects in DUI cases do have the right to challenge the admissibility of such evidence.
Source: Yahoo News, “Supreme Court to address blood testing for drunk driving,” by Terry Baynes and Jonathan Stempel, Sep. 26, 2012