Blood testing is becoming more and more common in Tennessee DUI cases. But recently, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in order to take a sample of a driver’s blood to determine the alcohol content, the police may have to get a warrant.
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In this case, Missouri v. McNeely (PDF), the court ruled that the simple fact of alcohol naturally dissipating in the blood stream does not mean the police can automatically stick a needle in your arm to get your blood without a warrant. Simply put, it doesn’t create an emergency that would allow them to get around the Constitution.
See, the act of the police sticking a needle in your arm is considered a search. And in order for them to search you, there has to be either consent, a warrant, or some exigent circumstance (an emergency that allows them to go forward without either your consent or a warrant).
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If the police don’t have any one of those three then that search is unconstitutional and the results of it (your blood) will be ruled inadmissible. Understand that this does not mean every DUI blood test in Tennessee will get thrown out. These cases depend on subtle, complex sets of facts, and it’s best that you talk to a Memphis DUI attorney to see what may happen in your case. But it appears that the landscape surrounding mandatory and/or warrantless blood draws may be changing based on this case.
If you were subjected to a blood draw in your DUI charge, contact Memphis DUI attorney Patrick Stegall. You may have options for challenging the government’s case. Call him at (901) 205-9894 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.