Warrantless Blood Draw in DUI Investigation | United States Supreme Court Lets Decision Stand

In Missouri v. McNeely, the United States Supreme Court decided that a blood draw is a search which is protected under the Fourth Amendment. It was held that a forced blood draw, by itself, is not considered an exception to the warrant requirement. Up until this decision, the “exigent circumstances” exception dictated whether or not law enforcement could legally force a suspect to draw blood, if there was a risk of losing the DUI suspect’s blood alcohol content through natural dissipation in the body.

The Missouri v. McNeely decision will stand for now; the United States Supreme Court has just announced that they will not be hearing an appeal from Colorado with the same issue in question; prosecutors argued that because of the natural dissipation of alcohol in the body, it shouDUI Attorneyld be allowed by officers to forcibly draw blood without a warrant. According to prosecutors, by the time it takes an officer to go through the process to obtain a warrant, there will be a loss of evidence as the BAC of the suspect slowly decreases.

Jack Schaufele was involved in a car accident in 2012, and was suspected to be driving under the influence by the responding officers. After being transported to a hospital, officers ordered a blood draw from Mr. Schaufele while he was asleep. His BAC was determined to be roughly three times the legal limit; this evidence was used against him and he was charged with DUI. During trial, the judge did not allow the evidence into trial as it had been obtained without a warrant or the suspect’s permission. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision on appeal. The United States Supreme Court’s decision of not hear the case means that the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court will stand.


Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney

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