Search Warrants and Forced Blood Draws in DUI Cases
Under the DUI law in some states, if you fail to voluntarily submit to a blood or breath test, a police officer can get a search warrant and forcibly take your blood. If you live in a state that permits forced blood draws, it may not be in your best interest to refuse a breath or blood test when the police ask you to submit a sample. Regardless of your refusal, the police will obtain a warrant and draw your blood anyway. Since implied consent laws make it a separate offense to refuse a chemical test, additional penalties will be imposed for your refusal, and the evidence will still be obtained.
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Extracting a sample of your blood certainly qualifies as a search and seizure, and therefore the withdrawal of your blood for purposes of DUI testing must be reasonable. While the procedures under which blood is taken varies from state to state, federal courts have determined that the process is reasonable under certain conditions. In most circumstances, a DUI suspect must be under arrest, and a warrant must first be obtained.
The 4th amendment requires that search and seizure warrants be sanctioned judicially, supported by probable cause. They must also be limited in scope, specifically stating the person or place to be searched and the items to be seized. The warrant must establish that the police have probable cause to believe a person is DUI. If any of the above requirements are not met, an experienced defense attorney will file a motion to suppress your blood test results.
Check your local chemical testing statutes to determine whether warrants and forcible blood draws are required or permitted in your state. If you have been arrested for DUI, and a blood sample was taken as a result of a warrant, contact an attorney immediately for more information.