Can Law Enforcement Take A Person’s Blood Without a Warrant?

You might know that police are generally not able to conduct a search of your home, vehicle, or property without they have gone through the necessary channels that demonstrates cause; thus, would grant them a warrant. 

However, when a person is pulled over for a traffic violation or on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, he or she might not realize that their fourth amendment right extends to them in this situation. When law enforcement suspects a person of driving under the influence, they may request field sobriety tests, a breath test, or even a blood test. As a DUI lawyer, we know that many people will submit to these tests without a second thought. The do so because of fears that they will lose their right to drive, or receive further penalties. There are also known cases in which police forcibly took blood samples without the consent of the person. In any case, these situations beg the question, “When can police take a person’s blood, and is a warrant required?”

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that just because alcohol can leave the blood after so many hours does not mean that police can draw a person’s blood without a warrant. In 2016, there were further laws that made it illegal to immediately draw a person’s blood in a DUI stop, as this was seen as unconstitutional. 

In other words, if your blood was drawn after a DUI, and police did not have a warrant and you did not give your consent, their actions could be considered wrongful. The only exception to this might be when police claim there was not enough time to pursue a warrant. As a DUI lawyer might tell you, there is very rarely a situation in which there was not enough time. If police claim this, they will need to have a strong argument for their actions. 

Furthermore, when it comes to blood, there are significant concerns of privacy. Your blood has an enormous amount of information that can be analyzed and stored for future reference. Blood tests also contain more information that can be used for harsher DUI charges. Whereas, breath tests show only information that is relevant to the tests conducted by law enforcement. Because blood is more intrusive on privacy that breath tests, a warrant must be obtained. 

Drawing Blood without a Warrant

According to the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

This means that under the fourth amendment, it is forbidden to conduct most searches without a warrant. The exceptions to this maybe when the following are involved:

  • Abandoned property
  • There is reasonable suspicion for the arrest
  • Items are in plain sight (i.e. open alcohol bottle)
  • The rule of the “automobile exception”

Iti is certainly possible for police to argue implied consent based upon the fact that a motorist automatically agrees to the submission of blood testing, and other tests, by virtue of driving. What you should know is that forcing anyone to have a blood test is not merited without a legal warrant that has been signed by a judge. You simply cannot be forced to have your blood drawn without a warrant; period. 

Have Your Fourth Amendment Rights Been Violated?

Leading DUI lawyers believe everyone is innocent until they have been proven guilty. However, the prosecutor and court does not always have the same view. Sadly, too many people are rushed through the legal system because of law enforcements’ haste to administer “justice”. Lawyers have the necessary tools and experience needed to help those accused of a DUI fight back. Call DUI lawyers, like a drunk driving lawyer in Newark from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., now for legal advice.