The Supreme Court ruled this week that police must usually obtain a warrant before making a suspected drunk driver submit to a blood test.
In an 8-to-1 vote, the court ruled on a case from Missouri where a state trooper drove a suspected drunk driver to a local hospital and ordered the man’s blood be drawn to check the blood alcohol level. The man had been driving erratically and when stopped by the officer, had refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
The court ruled against the state of Missouri, who had argued that a warrant shouldn’t be required since the more the time passes, the less alcohol will remain in the bloodstream. However, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects the right of people against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
The Supreme Court did not agree with the state’s argument and said, in most cases, the risk that blood alcohol levels could fade over time was not more important that the need for officers to obtain a warrant to give blood tests in the state.
“In such circumstance, there would be no plausible justification for an exception to the warrant requirement,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She noted that one officer can secure a warrant while the officer’s partner drives the motorist to a hospital or other facility perform the blood test.
To read more about the case, look at the Supreme Court decision.