The United States Supreme Court is getting ready to decide whether or not police officers have the right to order a blood test without a warrant in DUI cases.
According to PoliceOne, the Court heard arguments Wednesday, Jan. 9 in a Missouri case involving a disputed blood test. Police pulled over Tyler McNeely, who had two previous drunken-driving convictions, because he was not only speeding but swerving in his vehicle and he refused to take a breathalyzer test. His refusal prompted the police to order a blood test, without first receiving a warrant.
The primary issue at hand is whether or not the dissipation of alcohol in the blood over time is enough of a reason to order a blood alcohol test without a warrant. The justices were seemingly stumped as to the legality of warrantless tests.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in McNeely’s favor stating that police must first be issued a warrant before administering a blood test to a suspect. This ruling upheld a lower court ruling that threw out the results of his blood tests, which showed he had a .154 blood-alcohol content, nearly double the .08 limit. Lawyers for the State of Missouri as well as the Obama administration, obviously believe that the Court should overturn the previous decision because of the rate in which evidence in this type of case disappears.
“Here, police are facing the certain destruction of blood-alcohol evidence,” Justice Department lawyer Nicole Saharsky said.
The administration also added that more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related automobile crashes in 2010, which averages out to one death every 51 minutes.
As a law enforcement professional, what do you think about warrantless blood alcohol tests? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!