U. S. Supreme Court to Hear DUI Appeal Involving Warrant Requirement for Blood Test

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a DUI appeal in its upcoming term.  The DUI appeal is from a DUI conviction in Missouri.  The issue in the case is whether police officers must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on a drunk driving suspect.  Various State and Federal Appellate Courts have ruled on the issue in other DUI appeals, but the results have been divided on the issue.  The ruling in this DUI appeal will affect DUI cases in Alabama courts and across the country.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that police must obtain a a warrant in order to take a suspect’s blood except in certain special circumstances, such as when a delay could threaten a life or destroy potential evidence.  Many other courts have ruled that the dissipation of alcohol in the blood provides a good enough reason to allow police to take a blood test without getting a warrant.

In the Missouri case the defendant refused to submit to a breath test.  His blood test registered a blood alcohol content of .154 percent, well above the legal limit of .08 percent.  The trial court hearing the case suppressed the blood alcohol evidence, and the ruling was upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court.  Now the DUI appeal will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Missouri v. McNeely, 11-1425.

William K. Bradford – Bradford Ladner, LLP.

More About Alabama DUI Charges