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Forced blood draws after a DUI arrest

In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it was against the law to withdraw blood from a detainee by force. Despite this ruling, many residents in Norman, Oklahoma, still ask their attorneys whether or not this practice is legal. To be perfectly clear, it is not legal to draw blood from a detainee for the purpose of conducting blood alcohol tests without his or her consent.

SCOTUS takes the issue one step further by requiring that police offers acquire a warrant if they feel they need to draw blood forcibly. In Missouri vs. McNeely, the Supreme Court justice panel affirmed the following holding in a 5 to 4 decision. "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."

With respect to a law enforcement system that is arguably over-taxed across the nation, the ruling leaves no room for doubt. Police personnel must seek a warrant if the detainee does not provide his or her consent to the blood draw. Even though waiting for a warrant before taking blood will take extra time, the decision protects the rights of the person arrested for DUI. An argument can be made that the decision also protects the police force by eliminating any behavior that the detainee could take legal action against.

If you were arrested for DUI in the Norma area and the police withdrew your blood without consent, please consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If the police failed to follow the proper procedures to acquire your blood, you might be able to avoid a conviction altogether.

Source: Supreme Court of the United States Blog, "Missouri v. McNeely," accessed Aug. 11, 2015

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