A driver who has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence
may have to submit to a blood or breath test upon their arrest. These
BAC tests are intended to show whether or not the driver is under the
influence. While refusal to take a BAC test can result in an automatic
driver's license suspension, prior to the case of
Missouri v. McNeely, law enforcement could automatically take a blood draw from a suspect
when they refused.
Missouri v. McNeely Affected DUI Cases
In 2013, a defendant was pulled over for speeding and an officer quickly
determined the driver to be impaired by alcohol. The accused refused a
BAC test and the arresting officer drove the suspect to a nearby hospital
for a blood draw. Upon a second refusal, the officer directed the hospital
to draw blood for analysis. The Supreme Court ruled that in DUI cases,
the presence of alcohol in a suspect's blood is not enough to bypass
a warrant, and anyone seeking a blood draw needs to get permission from a judge.
As a result of this case, California police agencies announced that they
would completely suspend nonconsensual, warrantless DUI blood draws in
misdemeanor cases and obtain search warrants in felony cases except where
there are severe extenuating circumstances.
There are some pros and cons to blood tests that should be addressed:
Pros: Most specific and accurate BAC test with less subjectivity and reduced
Cons: Refusal can result in an automatic license suspension and arrest
Whether a blood draw was consensual, nonconsensual, warrantless, or completely
legal, there are ways to challenge any evidence gathered from these tests.
An experienced DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry,
Inc. can review your case and explain how we can help you.
Any driver that had a blood sample taken as part of a DUI arrest should
consult a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible for counsel.