Missouri v. McNeely

“On September 25, 2012, the United States Supreme Court in the case of Missouri v. McNeely, (Case No. 11-1425) https://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/11-1425.htm granted a Writ of Certiorari and will likely decide early next year in their scheduled 2012-2013 docket whether a law enforcement officer must first get a warrant before taking a blood sample from a suspected drunk driver who has not previously given consent.

The underlying trial court ruled the warrantless blood sample violated the defendant’s Constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure. The State appealed and the decision was reversed. The case then proceeded to the Supreme Court of Missouri where the State continued its argument of the “exigent circumstances exception” to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution warrant requirement, on the grounds that alcohol quickly dissipates in the bloodstream while police must wait for a warrant. The Missouri Supreme Court rejected this contention and supported the trial court’s holding.

The American Civil Liberties represented the driver who was charged with a DUI. Among other things, the ACLU noted there are 27 states that ban nonconsensual blood samples from being taken without a warrant. However, California is not included in any such ban per the case of Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966), which not only addressed the Fourth Amendment, but also ruled the withdrawal of blood is not a violation of one’s privileged against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.”


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