In the battle for constitutional rights and limits put on the way police officers conduct business, another state supreme court has ruled that forced blood draws in connection with a DWI investigation is unconstitutional.This time it was Idaho that struck down a police practice that more and more is being rules as violating our constitutional rights.
In the case at hand, a man was pulled over on suspicion of DWI. The police conducted several sobriety tests, which he failed. He was then taken to a local hospital where he was forced to give a blood sample to the police so they could test his blood alcohol level. According to police, the state law at the time granted them this authority for several reasons:
- State law puts an implied consent to a blood draw for dwi suspects;
- The nature of the evidence sought after justifies a search so evidence of alcohol in the blood does not dissipate;
- Past practice by police in the state justify the action.
Given these reasons, the prosecution sought to have the evidence that there was alcohol in this man’s blood admitted at trial.
The trial admitted the evidence, but the man appealed after being convicted of DWI. On appeal, his argument was a simple one. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees each of us the right to be free from unreasonable police searches or seizures unless a warrant is issued by a judge. Fortunately for this man, the appeals court agreed, and his conviction was overturned.
Nationwide Trend Invalidating Illegal Searches
This case is one in a recent series of cases where courts have held that the police are not entitled to take a DWI suspect’s blood without a warrant. The great weight of this trend rests on the provisions of the Fourth Amendment, and a recently decided Supreme Court decision essentially ruling that blood draws are not an exception to the warrant requirement of the constitution. Additionally, nationwide judges are available at anytime to give a warrant for a blood draw.
Despite this trend and recent rulings by the Supreme Court, the High Court will soon decide whether states can criminalize exercising this right to a warrant. In light of those opinions and this trend it seems that even asking the question of whether criminalizing a constitutional right is allowable is absurd, but the question is before the court nonetheless. There is little hope that the court will rule that way, and that will go far to ensure that those accused of DWI are treated with equal respect and rights as those accused of other crimes.
Your Dallas DWI Charge Defenders
At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm we know the uphill battle that those facing a DWI charge are fighting, but we want to take that fight on. From your initial consultation with us, you will understand why it is so important to have the right attorney on your side, fighting for you. If you are being charged with DWI in the Dallas area, contact us. We will aggressively represent you and your rights.