Fourth Amendment victory: Warrantless blood test, unreasonable search and seizure in DUI cases struck down by the court

Saturday, May 18, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Fouth Amendment, search warrants, blood alcohol level

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights has suffered mightily of late, but the U.S. Supreme Court has recently strengthened it in a case involving drunk driving and a little requirement like a search warrant.

In a 5-4 decision, justices ruled that police who are following up on drunk driving investigations will now only be able to draw a suspect's blood with a court order authorizing the search.

The ruling drew together justices who are typically on opposite ends of the political spectrum when it comes to constitutional decisions: Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan made up the majority (Kennedy is often a swing vote but Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Kagan could not be further to the left of Scalia if they tried).

'Such laws impose significant consequences when a motorist withdraws consent'

The court's majority said the natural expiration of alcohol in the bloodstream is not a "destruction of evidence," which otherwise would give police officers cause to search a suspect without a warrant.

The ruling in Missouri v. McNeely stems from a Driving Under the Influence arrest in which a police officer claimed that blood was drawn without a warrant or the suspect's prior consent because the suspect's liver was actively filtering the alcohol in the suspect's bloodstream and thus destroying evidence of a crime.

The Missouri Supreme Court said no, however, that wasn't a constitution of destruction of evidence, and also ruled in favor of the arrested suspect's contention that the search was an unconstitutional violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and to not be searched without a warrant.

And the nation's highest court eventually agreed.

"As an initial matter, States have a broad range of legal tools to enforce their drunk-driving laws and to secure BAC [blood-alcohol content] evidence without undertaking warrantless non-consensual blood draws," Justice Sotomayor wrote for the majority. "For example, all 50 States have adopted implied consent laws that require motorists, as a condition of operating a motor vehicle within the State, to consent to BAC testing if they are arrested or otherwise detained on suspicion of a drunk-driving offense."

"Such laws impose significant consequences when a motorist withdraws consent," she continued, "typically the motorist's driver's license is immediately suspended or revoked, and most States allow the motorist's refusal to take a BAC test to be used as evidence against him in a subsequent criminal prosecution." She also noted there is "no evidence" suggesting that a restriction of blood draws is an impediment to DUI enforcement efforts.

The court's majority opinion concluded: "We hold that in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant."

'Drunk driving laws can be enforced per the Constitution

Steven Shapiro, the National Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union, praised the high court's ruling, as well as the ruling by the Missouri high court, for staying true to the word and spirit of the Fourth Amendment.

"We know from experience drunk-driving laws can be strictly enforced without abandoning constitutional rights," he said in a statement. "Today's decision appropriately recognizes what half the states have already demonstrated - that maintaining highway safety does not require sacrificing personal privacy."

The ACLU represented McNeely before the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to the high court's ruling, the suspect, Tyler McNeely was arrested by a Missouri officer after the officer witnessed him speeding and crossing the center line. The suspect refused to take a blood alcohol test (BAC), so the officer arrested him and took him to a nearby hospital, where his blood was drawn and his alcohol level was found to be well above the legal limit of .08 ml.

The suspect was charged with driving will intoxicated, but successive state and federal courts agreed that the officer was obligated to obtain a warrant before obtaining a blood sample.

Sources for this article include:

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.