The Highest Court in the Country ruled on Wednesday that law enforcement
officers must obtain a search warrant before conducting a nonconsensual
blood test in most
DUI cases. In Missouri v. McNeely, the authorities stopped Tyler McNeely because
they suspected him of driving under the influence. Mr. McNeely refused
a breath test, which prompted the officer to take him to the closest hospital
so he could give a blood sample.
Missouri v. McNeely clears up Schmerber v. California, a case decided by
the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. McNeely presented the question, does natural
metabolization of alcohol in a person’s blood produce a per se exigency
that warrants an exception to the Fourth Amendment, the right to be free
from unreasonable searches and seizures?
The Court’s ruling clarifies that trial courts need to look at each
drunk driving case as a whole, making a decision only after considering
all the circumstances in totality.