The United States Supreme Court issues decision on warrantless blood draw in DUI case
Today, the United States Supreme Court, in Missouri V. McNeely, 569 U.S. __ (No. 11-1425)(2013), ruled that absent exigent circumstances, police officers must request search warrants to forcibly draw blood from persons who they have probable cause to believe have been driving under the influence of alcohol. The Court rejected a request for a per se rule that the nature of alcohol in a person’s blood, and its dissipation as time goes by, is an exigent circumstance in itself.
In the instant case, the driver refused to submit to a blood draw and the officer did not seek a warrant but merely requested that hospital personnel draw the driver’s blood. the officer testified that he did not believe that securing a warrant was necessary. The trial court determined that there was no emergency, besides the fact that the blood alcohol level was dissipating, and suppressed the blood test result. The Missouri State Supreme Court agreed, as did the United States Supreme Court.
Today’s decision means that the Court will review the warrantless drawing of blood on a case-by-case basis and that it will not allow a unilateral practice of warrantless blood-draws of all motorists suspected of driving under the influence.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601