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#TBT: Missouri v. McNeely

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Fourth of July is coming up and we’re sure everyone is excited to celebrate with barbeques, fireworks and parties. It is important to remember to celebrate legally and appropriately and still have fun. Drinking and driving can cause serious injury to not only you but to others on the road. Drinking and driving harmful and needs to be regulated and punished, but at what expense?

In 2013, the Supreme Court reviewed Missouri v. McNeely, a case where a blood test was administered without the consent and approval of the driver in question. On October 3, 2010, Officer Mark Winder pulled Tyler G. McNeely over for speeding and suspecting that he was drunk. McNeely failed the field sobriety tests Winder administrated and then refused to take the Breathalyzer test. Winder placed McNeely under arrest then took him to a local hospital where he advised McNeely to consent to a blood test. McNeely refused to give his consent but Winder instructed the hospital personnel to draw the blood and test it despite McNeely’s refusal. The result of the BAC test, 0.154 which is well above the legal limit of 0.08, and was used to charge McNeely with a DUI. McNeely appealed on the grounds that the evidence obtained using the blood test was a violation of his 4th amendment right. Officer Winder claimed that the blood test was administered based on exigent circumstances, which means that the lack of a warrant is justified for a compelling reason. Winder stated that the dissipation of the content of alcohol in McNeely’s blood would occur too quickly to obtain a warrant in time. McNeely and his counsel argued that this was a threat to bodily integrity and against the 4th amendment in all ways and not exigent circumstances. The Supreme Court ruled in McNeely’s favor and claimed that drawing blood without consent or a warrant is illegal.

This weekend the police in several states, like Texas, Oregon, and Tennessee, are setting up “No Refusal” Blood Draw Checkpoints. Drivers will be checked for DUI regardless of their driving at these points. If they refuse a Breathalyzer then they will be forced to undergo blood tests. Judges will be available on site and through the phone to approval warrants for these draws. Michigan State Department of Police v. Sitz allows sobriety checkpoints but for health and safety reasons and not criminal intent. Is having a judge on site or on call a violation of this? Is refusal to take a Breathalyzer even sufficient evidence for a warrant to be issued on spot or at all?

 

Sources

Donegan, Barry . "Police Planning 4th of July ‘No Refusal’ Blood-Draw DUI Checkpoints." Ben Swann Truth In Media. Ben Swann, 2 July 2014. Web. 3 July 2014. .

"MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ." Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, n.d. Web. 3 July 2014. .

"Missouri v. McNeely." SCOTUSblog RSS. Bloomberg Law, n.d. Web. 3 July 2014. .

Roman, Ethan, and Dan Youngblut. "Missouri v. McNeely." LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 3 July 2014. .

MLA formatting by BibMe.org.

 

Joseph M. Ghabour
Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.
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