Your Fourth Amendment Rights and DUI Blood Draw Refusal
The holidays such as the Fourth of July are often the time to think about or celebrate our Constitutional Rights. It is also the time law enforcement increases it sobriety checkpoints. In fact, this year many law enforcement agencies throughout the country are participating in what is referred to as “no refusal enforcement.”
What is No Refusal Enforcement?
Let’s say you are at a DUI checkpoint or stopped for suspicion of drinking and driving. The police officer asks you for a blood or breath sample. You refuse. A no refusal enforcement allows the officer to obtain a warrant to obtain a sample of your blood. In states like Oregon and Tennessee, a driver who refuses a Breathalyzer test could have to take a forced blood test as long as law enforcement obtains a warrant.
Texas and other states have enacted laws requiring drivers to undergo mandatory blood draws for suspicion of DUI. The officer does not have to obtain a warrant prior to taking the blood sample. For example, you were driving in Texas when you were involved in a crash and someone was killed or injured and drinking was involved. The officer does not have to wait to obtain a search warrant to take a blood draw. The blood draw is mandatory whether you refuse or not.
Law enforcement officials believe that mandatory blood draws and no-refusal blood draws help to reduce fatality rates associated with drunk driving. Law enforcement agencies are pushing for tougher DUI blood draw laws because blood samples are generally more accurate than breath samples. Of course, DUI blood samples are not always accurate. The Orange County Crime Lab in California made some errors when testing blood samples from May to November 2013.
No Refusal Enforcement Violates the Fourth Amendment
Unfortunately, states have been using no refusal blood draw strategies for years. For example, in 2009, Tennessee began using no refusal enforcement in cases of vehicular assault. In 2012, the state expanded its use to cover any DUI stop.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin does not encourage drunk driving. We also do not condone using loopholes in DUI to endorse the behavior and consequences associated with driving under the influence. However, we do advocate for the Fourth Amendment rights of everyone accused and/or charged with DUI.
You are free from unlawful searches and seizures. Those are the rights given to you by the Fourth Amendment. DUI blood draws are intrusive. Unfortunately in some states law enforcement officials are doing everything in their power to make them law. Even if that means going against the Fourth Amendment and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided that police cannot administer a blood test to anyone suspected of DUI without obtaining a warrant unless it is an emergency. This is according to Missouri v. McNeely.
If you are accused of DUI contact Jonathan Franklin. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated we will work diligently in our efforts to get the case dismissed or charges reduced. We make it a point to protect the Constitutional rights of our clients while aggressively defending them against a DUI charge. Call us for a free consultation.