For years there has been a debate about the Constitutionality of police officers drawing blood without warrants. It has seemed to go against the 4th amendment of the Constitution which bans unreasonable search and seizure. Now the Supreme Court has a chance to create a legal precedent about the intrusive practice.
The case they are reviewing is an incident from 2010 when a man from Missouri was forced to submit to a blood test. Tyler G. McNeely was pulled over for speeding and suspected of driving while intoxicated. After he declined to submit to a breath test or blood test, he was taken to a local hospital, handcuffed and made to give blood. Yet, he was never shown a warrant before the blood was drawn.
It turns out that although McNeely was over the legal limit to be driving legally in Missouri, a lower court suppressed the blood test evidence because it infringed on the suspect’s 4th amendment rights. The state of Missouri appealed the decision, claiming that the officer was justified in securing blood without a warrant. Since the alcohol content in blood diminishes over time, the officer was worried that any delay (including getting a warrant) would result in the destruction of valuable evidence against McNeely.
In Texas, the rate of accidents is staggering when alcohol is involved. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, every 20 minutes, someone is hurt or killed in car accidents caused by drunk drivers. Stats like this made Texas enforce a no refusal rule where a warrant is issued prior to the traffic stop and blood draw is completed. But a Supreme Court decision is pending for this summer about the Constitutionality of drawing blood without a warrant or consent.
Drinking and driving is a serious problem in Texas, but should not be challenged by suspending the Constitutional rights of all citizens. If you have been stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, it is important to have the help of a legal professional. Contact an experienced DWI defense attorney in Sugar Land today to review your case.