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Court rejects routine no-warrant DUI blood tests

Apr 17, 2013 -- 12:06pm


The Supreme Court has ruled that police must usually try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for drunk-driving suspects.  The justices sided today/Wednesday with Tyler McNeely, of Cape County, who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant and found to have nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is generally not sufficient reason to jettison the requirement that police get a judge's approval before drawing a blood sample.

McNeely was stopped by Cpl. Mark Winder of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and failed several field sobriety tests.  But while Winder had enough evidence to get a warrant for a blood test, he did not, but instead, drove McNeely to a hospital where a technician drew blood from the suspect while handcuffed.  Missouri and the Obama administration were asking the court to endorse a blanket rule that would have allowed the tests without a warrant.

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