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Police Must Have a Search Warrant to Make a DUI Blood Draw

Posted by John Rutkowski | Aug 07, 2017 | 0 Comments

Danny Birchfield drove into a ditch in Morton County, North Dakota. When the Sheriff's Office arrived on scene, they believed Birchfield to be intoxicated to the extent he should not have been driving.

Birchfield failed both the field sobriety tests and the pre-arrest breath test. He was arrested, but he refused to consent to a blood test. He was charged with a misdemeanor for refusing to consent to a blood test in violation of state law. He asked the court to dismiss the charge claiming the state law violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, which the court denied, leading to Birchfield's conviction.

Eventually, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, who reversed Birchfield's conviction for refusing the blood test stating, that the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrest for driving while intoxicated but does not permit a warrantless search of a blood draw, finding the blood draw intrusive requiring a warrant.

About the Author

John Rutkowski

Mr. Rutkowski has been practicing law for the past twenty-three years. Prior to practicing law Mr. Rutkowski served twelve years as a deputy sheriff, retiring to attend law school. Starting his law-enforcement career as a patrol deputy which included two years on the DUI squad; Mr. Rutkowski moved up the ranks becoming a corporal in the field training program which give him the responsibility for training new recruits.


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