The Law Office of John W. Noonan
925-400-6635 Call For A Free Initial Consultation Se Habla EspaƱol Available 24/7

Can police force a blood draw in a DUI stop without a warrant?

To lead into today's post topic, we'd like our Pleasanton readers to first consider this scenario: a driver has just been pulled over by a California police officer who suspects the driver is under the influence of alcohol. The officer asks the driver to submit to a breath test but the driver refuses.

The officer knows that if he doesn't get a blood-alcohol reading soon, he might not be able to prove his suspicion that the driver is over the legal limit. Instead of waiting for a warrant, the officer believes that he has reason enough to force the blood draw without the driver's consent because of alcohol burn off and the need for an accurate reading.

It's because of a situation such as this that we're asking the question above: can police force a blood draw in a DUI stop without a warrant? Many people, including a large majority of our Pleasanton readers, have probably heard of a situation such as this occurring. Many more have probably heard the excuse used by the officer in this scenario. But do such grounds exist or is forcing a blood draw without a warrant illegal?

This very question was posed to the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago in the case of Missouri v. McNeely as well as by a number of other cases across the nation. Confusion lie in how states should interpret their own drunk-driving laws in accordance with a person's Fourth Amendment rights. It was presumed by some that the metabolization of alcohol should qualify as an exemption to the warrant requirement. Others disagreed, which is why the case was finally heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court upheld the decision to enforce warrants on blood draws during DUI stops and arrests. As Justice Roberts explained, "If there is time to secure a warrant before blood can be drawn, the police must seek one." Many of the judges agreed too that metabolization of alcohol was not an emergency enough to allow a warrantless blood draw.

What this means for our scenario above is that the officer could be violating the driver's civil rights if a warrantless blood draw is pursued. Doing so could make the blood draw inadmissible in any future criminal proceedings. The driver might not know this though unless they talk to a criminal defense attorney.

Sources: The Washington Post, "Supreme Court limits warrantless blood tests for drunken driving suspects," Robert Barnes, April 17, 2013

The SCOTUS Blog, "Missouri v. McNeely," Accessed July 27, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Recent Case Results

  • Juvenile Charges

    A juvenile was arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery. After 6 months the case was dismissed.

    A juvenile was arrested for Sexual Battery. After 6 months and 80 hours of Community service, the case was dismissed.

    Read More
  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    A client with a 1st DUI arrest. Fearing she would go to jail; lose her license for a year and lose her job. Got a wet reckless and minimal fines.

    Read More
  • Drug Charges

    A client with 4 Felony charges on a Transportation Charge, a Attempt to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, (50 pounds), Conspiracy Charge all where reduced to 1 Misdemeanor. No Jail.

    Client was charged with 6 Felony drug possessions. Facing jail time. The results: Client got a deferred entry of judgment and then dismissed.

    Client charged with several felony counts of possession of Marijuana with intent to sell. Client was involved in a medical marijuana grow. Case was reduced and later dismissed.

    Read More
  • Sex Crimes

    A client with alleged 2 Felony Sex charges and he faced jail and sex registration. The case was entirely dismissed.

    Client charged with prostitution; facing jail time and sex offender registration. Result: NO JAIL TIME AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION Deferred Entry of Judgment.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    Client charged with domestic violence, with great bodily injury. Case reduced to a misdemeanor with time served.

    Read More
Email Us For A Response

Learn How We Can Help

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Areas We Serve

Pleasanton Office
5674 Stoneridge Drive, Suite 204
Pleasanton, CA 94588

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 925-400-6635
Fax: 925-463-3661
Pleasanton Law Office Map

Manteca Office
210 East Center Street
Suite 10
Manteca, CA 95336

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 925-400-6635
Fax: 925-463-3661
Manteca Law Office Map

Back To Top