U.S. Supreme Court Case Missouri vs. McNeely Could Help You Avoid a DWI Conviction

DUI-arrest-1000-ffccccccWhite-3333-0.20.3-1The case name is Missouri vs. McNeely. In McNeely, the United States Supreme Court ruled that there is no single factor exigency exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement in DWI cases. The rationale in McNeely is not limited to warrantless blood draws – it also applies to warrantless breath and urine searches and seizures in DWI cases. On April 22, 2013 the United States Supreme Court vacated three Minnesota DWI cases in Minnesota vs. Brooks and sent them back to the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a decision consistent with the McNeely case. The judgment in the case won by a 5-4 vote saying that it is not justifiable to conduct a blood test without a warrant in every DWI case.

On October 3, 2010 Mr. McNeely was pulled over by highway patrol because he was speeding. The officers then conducted severe standard field sobriety tests, which he failed, they then asked him to submit to a breath test. McNeely refused to take the breath test so he was transported to a clinic where the staff took a blood sample without his consent. When the blood test came back, it showed that McNeely was far above the legal BAC limit. After being charged with DWI, McNeely filed a lawsuit saying that by administering a blood test without his consent, they violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Because they issued the blood test without a warrant it could be considered unreasonable search and seizure. Ultimately, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant, McNeely, saying that the blood test was not justified in this situation.

The argument that I make in all DWI cases is that all evidentiary tests for alcohol concentration in a DWI case are searches that are protected by the Fourth Amendment. The state cannot argue that a driver consented to a test when they were just told that if they refuse, they will be charged with a more serious crime of Gross Misdemeanor DWI Test Refusal. Therefore, the “consent” the police talk about is not truly consensual since it is an involuntary submission to take the test at the direction of the police under the threat of criminal charges. If you have been arrested for DWI in Missouri and you believe that law enforcement violated your rights, then contact my firm without delay by calling (612) 341-6575.

Categories: DWI, License Revocation