Recently on our DUI blog a user asked, “I was arrested for DUI this weekend in Texas. I refused to submit to a chemical test but then the police obtained a warrant and forced me to submit to the blood draw. I am wondering if this was legal and what my options are now?”
Supreme Court rules on a warrantless DUI blood draw
Every state has adopted DUI implied consent laws. Under these laws Texas motorists have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test if they are arrested for DUI. Drivers who refuse to submit to the chemical test will have their license immediately suspended or revoked. States may also have the right to use the evidence of the refusal against them in their criminal case.
In Missouri v. McNeely the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Missouri State Supreme Court ruling that police could only take perform a blood draw test without a warrant in an emergency or under exigent circumstances. This ruling did not invalidate a state’s implied consent laws; however, it simply requires police officers to obtain a warrant prior to the chemical test unless exigent circumstances can be articulated.
No refusal blood draw weekends
The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, has not deterred police departments across the nation. In fact, more and more states are establishing weekends where they implement what they are referring to as “no refusal DUI checkpoints.” According to reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency under the Department of Transportation, has been providing state and local government agencies with grants and tool kits to set up no refusal blood draw weekends.
Tool kits and additional funds allow police departments to establish expedited processes to issue warrants via telephone during special enforcement periods. Some police departments also have nurses on site at the jails or in other locations, eliminating the need to take a suspect to a hospital to perform the blood draw.
Critics of these processes note that forced blood draws do little to improve the public’s safety because under current implied consent laws drivers who refuse the chemical test will lose their license anyway. Additionally, others claim mass production of search warrants undermines the warrant process.
Proponents argue, however, that no refusal weekends can streamline the warrant process and in the process help build good DUI cases that lead to more DUI convictions. Furthermore, those who favor such policies argue that as more motorists become aware of the No Refusal program and the chance that that will be caught, arrested, and convicted for driving under the influence the programs will become a strong deterrent for intoxicated driving.
You mentioned you were forced to submit to a blood test. If the police had sufficient evidence and were able to obtain a warrant the Supreme Court has ruled that they are legally allowed to obtain your blood.
The next step for you is to contact a DUI lawyer and find out what other evidence the state has against you. In some cases it’s better to fight the charges; in other cases it’s better to negotiate a plea agreement.
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