Do Police Need Warrants for a DUI Blood Test?

A recent United States Supreme Court case for MISSOURI v. MCNEELY, examined Mr. Mcneely’s plea that taking a chemical blood test without his permission is a direct violation of his Fourth Amendment right.

This right requires a warrant for all types of search and seizures – unless it’s an emergency.

When it comes to the law, there’s some flexibility based on the circumstances of the case. In search and seizure rules, the emergency clause sometimes eliminate the need for a warrant.

Here’s the Final Ruling:

United States Supreme Court holds that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not establish a per se exigency that suffices on its own to justify an exception to the warrant requirement for nonconsensual blood testing in drunk driving (DUI) investigations.”

Here’s Law Enforcement’s Viewpoint:

Because alcohol does not stay in the body for a prolonged period of time, in order to provide proof of intoxication, a chemical blood test would need to be performed as soon as possible.

After all, chemical and blood tests are how most DUI cases hold ground for the prosecution team. Furthermore, a warrant takes time to issue, which would mean that intoxication would lapse.

Another strong point that law enforcement makes is that the blood test provides the best proof of intoxication levels. Based on these levels, different sentencing will be handed down.

What Are Your Civil Rights?

Study the following:

When considering that a medical procedure of blood withdrawal is conducted by an officer, this creates apprehension for anyone in this situation. Drivers however should know that these tests are performed by trained officers.

Refusing to perform a chemical test carries infraction charges under Rhode Island laws.

Another important factor is Implied Consent – based on the driver’s disposition, and the officer’s observations, a DUI test would most likely resolve the suspicion.

Not all DUI cases appear as they seem however. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Rhode Island, contact the RI criminal defense lawyers at 401-272-4001.