In the recent U.S. Supreme Court case of Missouri vs. McNeely, the prosecution was fighting to support the implied consent law, meaning that every person can be legally forced to submit to a blood test, with or without their consent. That means that a warrant would not be necessary in order to administer a blood test without the suspect’s consent. However, this ruling was recently overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court. They ended up rejecting that proposition due to the fact that searches conducted without a warrant are in violation of the 4th Amendment. Now Missouri drivers are no longer forced to submit to a blood test, unless law enforcement is able to secure their consent or a warrant. More than half of the United States has already made court decisions of this fashion because they have all realized that you don’t have to compromise personal privacy in order to keep the highways safe.
In Missouri vs. McNeely, the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, represented Tyler McNeely. The defendant who was pulled over the night of October 3, 2010, was found speeding by the highway patrol and they suspected him to be driving while intoxicated. The highway patrol then conducted field sobriety tests but McNeely failed to pass them. After asking him to submit to a breath test, McNeely refused but they informed him of the implied consent laws and told him that he could face additional penalties. After his refusal, law enforcement had him taken to a health clinic where they administered a blood test without a warrant and without his consent. The blood test came back above the legal limit and McNeely was charged with DWI. However, due to this recent court ruling he was not convicted and his civil rights and liberties were protected.
In reality, consent must be given and not taken away. Implied consent in this case has become forced compliance. It is important for drunk driving laws to be strict and enforceable, but not at the cost of hindering the constitutional rights of all drivers. The McNeely case stands as a victory because now warrantless blood tests are considered unjustifiable. Now if law enforcement decides that they want to draw blood, they will have to wait until a warrant is issued or the suspect give their consent. Putting a needle in someone’s arm while they are restrained is considered intrusive and it could be considered illegal search and seizure. As an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense and DWI attorney, this is the defense I use in drunk driving cases because it stands in court and in coincides with your constitutional rights. If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving while intoxicated be sure to contact Grostyan & Associates, PLC for the aggressive defense you need and deserve.