U.S. Supreme Court Says No To DWI Blood Tests Without Warrants
People who find themselves pulled over and arrested for DWI have a little support from the U.S. Supreme Court today with a ruling in which Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that "the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream" doesn't mean that the cops can go draw your blood without a warrant.
In other words, the Court didn't agree with the government's argument that a DWI suspect's blood alcohol content will decrease - and possibly go below the legal limit - in the time it takes to get a proper warrant.
So now the police must get a search warrant from a judge in most garden-variety DWI cases - those that don't involve an alcohol-related accident with injuries or deaths - before taking the suspect to get his or her blood drawn.
One officer, in the case before the Court, took the suspect right to the hospital after the suspect failed field sobriety tests and refused the breath test. There, while handcuffed and saying no, the suspect's blood was drawn.
While the ruling probably won't have much impact on no-refusal weekends in Texas, it might cut down on the number of people who otherwise would've had their blood drawn without a warrant.
Texas is one of a number of states that do forced blood draws, but under the no-refusal policy, law enforcement typically first gets warrants from on-call judges, at least when the no-refusal policy is in effect.