Supreme Court rules necessity of warrant in most DWI blood draws

Apr 17, 2013

The United States Supreme Court ruled today in a Missouri case that police cannot take a blood test from a drunk driving suspect without a warrant, during a routine drunk driving arrest.

Tony Rothert is the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. He says the decision requires police officers to consider all circumstances during a drunk driving arrest when deciding if a warrant is necessary. 

“If under the circumstances there is time to get a warrant, then the police officer should get a warrant. If given the circumstance there is not time, then it might be justifiable to take blood without a warrant,” said Rothert.

About half the states already prohibit such warrantless draws.

The case springs from the arrest of Tyler McNeely, who was subjected to an involuntary blood test during a routine drunk driving arrest in Cape Girardeau County in 2010.

The state of Missouri argued that alcohol dissipates in the blood stream while officers await a warrant, thus destroying evidence