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Drunk Drivers Have Rights Too

Posted on May 07, 2013

Accused drunk drivers have constitutional rights too, and their right for protection against unlawful search and seizure won't be going away anytime soon.  The Supreme Court ruled last month that police must obtain a warrant based on probable cause to collect blood samples from suspected drunk drivers.  

This article in the LA Times says:

Sonia Sotomayor said that the legality of warrantless blood drawings should be evaluated based on "the totality of the circumstances." In a concurring opinion, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. proposed a more detailed test: A warrant is unnecessary when "there is a compelling need to prevent the imminent destruction of important evidence, and there is no time to obtain a warrant." The "totality of the circumstances" test may not be crystal clear, but the practical effect of this decision will be to encourage police to seek warrants and to press magistrates to be available to provide them in a timely and efficient way. Sotomayor noted that a majority of states already allow police and prosecutors to apply for warrants electronically or by radio or telephone.

The article continued, "Justice Stephen G. Breyer pointed out during oral arguments in the case, the requirement that an officer seek permission from a magistrate to draw blood means that 'you have a second judgment and the officer has to talk to somebody, so he's a little more careful.'"

Let's hope that's really the way it works.

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Paul Liam McGlone
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DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney and Founder of McGlone Law Firm