Escobar & Associates
813.875.5100
Speak to an attorney 24 hours a day free consultations

US Supreme Court Will Review Warrantless Blood Alcohol Tests

Many states have laws that compel a driver, who has been stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, to submit to a blood alcohol test. In January 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court held that compelling such a test is actually an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

A legal expert noted that the intrusion to the body by compelling a blood test is the greatest invasion of privacy that exists. The state had argued that because the level of alcohol in the blood rapidly dissipates, there is a sense of "urgency" creating an exception to the warrant requirement. The state relied on a 1966 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, which the state claimed allowed such warrantless searches and seizures.

In its decision holding the law unconstitutional, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the state misinterpreted the previous decision. The 1966 case had allowed a warrantless blood test from a man who had been in a car wreck based on "special facts" specific to that case. In the more recent case, the Missouri court held it could not find any "exigent circumstances" justifying the warrantless blood alcohol test.

Various state courts have issued conflicting opinions about whether or not a forced blood alcohol test violates the Fourth Amendment. To settle the issue, in September 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Missouri state decision.

Anyone who has been forced to submit to a blood alcohol test should seek legal counsel. An experienced defense attorney can examine the case and determine if Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

Source: Reuters, "Supreme Court to address blood testing for drunk driving," Terry Baynes and Jonathan Stempel, September 25, 2012.

For more information, please visit our Tampa DUI defense page.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Martindale-Hubbell | Top rated lawyer in Tampa | Richard Escobar | For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability | Martindale-Hubbell Top rated lawyer
  • Top Lawyers 2016 | Richard Escobar
  • Top Lawyers 2016 | Dino Michaels
  • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards | AV |AV Preeminent | Richard Escobar | 2016
  • Judicial Education | AV | AV Preeminent | Richard Escobar | 2016
  • CLIENT | DISTINCTION AWARD | Dino mike Michaels, Esq. | Recognized for Excellence | Quality of Service | Overall Value | Responsiveness | Communication Ability
  • 15 | YEAR | Anniversary | Proudly Serving | the Community | Since 2001 | Dino Mike Michaels

Office Location

Escobar & Associates
2917 W. Kennedy Boulevard
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33609

Phone: 813-513-0274
Fax: 813.877.6590
Tampa Law Office Map