Warrants Required for Blood Draws in DWI Cases | Birchfield v North Dakota
Submitted by New Jersey DWI Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
What does it mean for you, the person who just was pulled over and the police are demanding you give blood!! DON’T GIVE BLOOD UNTIL YOU SEE THE WARRANT SIGNED BY A JUDGE REQUIRING YOU TO GIVE IT!!!!!
US Supreme Court affirms warrant requirement for blood draw in DWI cases
As a US Supreme Court term comes to an end the Court issued an opinion affirming the police’s need to get a warrant to take YOUR BLOOD IN and DWI cases. Specifically, the court ruled the police were not allowed to tell a DWI arrestee they were “required’ to submit to a search/blood draw without first having obtained a warrant.
In order to do so the Court reviewed the “consent” nature of breath test requirements for motor vehicle operators pulled over on the suspicion of DWI or DUI. The Court affirmed the legislative intent to protect the general public from DWI related crashes and the need to deter alcohol deaths. In fact, the Court looked back to a 1957 case as well as the 2014 National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Alcohol Impairment Report reflecting the legislature’s awareness of the ‘carnage and slaughter’ caused by drunk drivers. The Court affirmed the states’ ability to require individuals pulled over and required to blow into a breathalyzer based on several factors: a) the very minimally intrusive nature of the breath test itself, b) The states entitlement to require breath test as a condition of issuing a drivers license under their individual regulatory schemes.
However the court stopped there and reaffirmed the requirement that the police obtain a search warrant from a neutral magistrate prior to obtaining a blood draw in a hospital setting from a suspected DWI arrestee. The Court went further to reaffirm it’s recent opinion in McNeeley enabling a police department to obtain that very same blood draw without a warrant so long as there is “exigent circumstances “. The Court also reaffirmed its prior holding that declining blood alcohol levels in the body as a result of metabolic process alone is not enough to be considered “exigent circumstances”.
The court also reaffirmed the states entitlement to continue to prosecution refusal to submit to breathalyzer tests as well. The court reason that a vast majority of individuals who are refusing to take the test our prior offenders and are attempting to skirt the consent statute and need to crack down on same.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.