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DUI Blood Tests: Pros & Cons

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.

How 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 misunderstandings
  • 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.