Warrantless Blood Draws?

This past Wednesday the United States Supreme Court considered requiring police to get a search warrant before forcing drunken-driving suspects to have blood drawn in a case that will shape privacy rights on our roadways. The justices weighed Missouri’s contention that police need not take the time to get judicial approval, given how quickly alcohol dissipates in the bloodstream, and the issue turns on our Fifth Amendment rights barring unreasonable searches and seizures. The court appeared to seek to balance the needs of the police against the “pretty scary image” of a handcuffed person being stuck with a needle.

Missouri’s contention is that getting a nighttime warrant in Cape Girardeau County, where the defendant was arrested, takes an average of two hours, by which point a person’s blood-alcohol level may have dropped below the legal limit. The state alleged that alcohol typically dissipates in the bloodstream at a rate of 0.015 to 0.020 percentage points an hour. The State of Missouri is seeking to exempt drunken-driving cases from the normal rule that police must get a warrant for intrusive bodily searches; the same rule is generally applicable in Washington State cases as well.

The defendant’s lawyers say police in Cape Girardeau County often get warrants in less than half an hour. They postulate that modern technology expedites the process in much of the country, as officers file telephone or electronic applications with a judge. The defendant’s lawyers, in court papers, pointed to Missouri’s “implied consent” law, which says drivers who refuse a blood or breath test automatically lose their license for a year, this is the same language put forth in Washington State’s “implied consent” law. The defense contends the law suggests that drivers have the right to refuse a blood test. However, that refusal has little import if a blood draw can be obtained without a warrant.

Because of the significant implications a DUI arrest and/or conviction can have, it is imperative that a person charged with DUI in Washington State immediately retain a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer or a qualified Bellevue DUI lawyer. In many instances, a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer can significantly reduce the impact that a DUI charge will have on an individual’s life. The right Seattle DUI attorney will be worth his/her weight in gold when protecting a person’s rights, freedom and future. The Seattle DUI attorneys that make up the litigation team of SQ Attorneys are dedicated to defending those accused of drunk driving. They have the experience, knowledge and resources to successfully defend your case. Unlike other law firms that practice in many areas of the law, SQ Attorneys is focused on criminal defense representation with an emphasis on DUI defense in Western Washington.

If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI defense attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.

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