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Supreme Court Upholds Unconstitutionality of Warrantless Blood Tests

The Supreme Court ruled on April 17, that, in most cases, police must try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for DUI suspects. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is not an adequate reason to bypass the requirement that …

The Supreme Court ruled on April 17, that, in most cases, police must try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for DUI suspects. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is not an adequate reason to bypass the requirement that police get a judge’s approval before having a blood sample drawn. If you are facing charges for drunk driving in Oklahoma, and you believe the means by which police collected evidence against you were unconstitutional, don’t hesitate to contact our DUI defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our lawyers have years of experience protecting the legal rights of those charged with drunk driving throughout the state, and will work diligently to help you build a strong defense in your case.

Are No-Warrant Blood Tests Constitutional?

The Supreme Court case stemmed from the arrest of Missouri resident Tyler McNeely, who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant and was found to have nearly double the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. According to the court documents, a state trooper stopped McNeely’s speeding and swerving car, at which point the driver refused to submit to a breath test to measure the alcohol level in his blood. He failed numerous field sobriety tests and the arresting officer reported that McNeely’s speech was slurred and that he was unsteady on his feet. Despite the fact that the officer likely had enough evidence to get a warrant for a blood test, he instead drove McNeely to a hospital and had his blood drawn while he was handcuffed.

Court Requires Police to Get Warrant for Blood Tests

According to the blood test, McNeely’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.154%, which is well above the legal limit of 0.08%. The state of Missouri was asking the court to endorse a blanket rule that would have permitted the tests without a warrant. However, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court order that rejected the results of the blood test, saying that the test violated the Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Eight of the nine justices sided with McNeely and rejected the plea, citing concerns about the suspect’s Constitutional rights. The court concluded that police need a warrant to take a DUI suspect’s blood, except in cases where a delay could destroy potential evidence or threaten a life.

Contact Our DUI Defense Attorneys Today

Too often, the rights of those accused of drunk driving and other crimes in Oklahoma are taken advantage of by police who are simply looking to make an arrest without regard for the suspect’s rights. If you have been charged with drunk driving in Oklahoma, and you believe you were subjected to an unconstitutional blood test or otherwise had your rights violated by police, your first course of action should be to consult our DUI defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our law firm is located in Oklahoma City, and our attorneys may be able to have your charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed altogether. Contact our law firm today for legal help.

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