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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Driving While Impaired & The Supreme Court

A person is arrested for driving while impaired. The arrestee refuses to give a chemical test- either a blood or breath test. Should the police be required to get a warrant before they 'force blood' from the suspect? The Supreme Court has taken up the issue.

Forced blood draws have been controversial for years. I have seen them done many times. As a former prosecutor, I regularly handled cases from police departments that forced blood. One police department actually had a designated forced blood draw chair for DWI suspects who refused to submit to a chemical test.  It was actually more than a chair- very similar to the photo to the left (credits to http://blog.jeffcitylaw.com/?p=1188). Rather, it appeared more like barbaric torture device.

It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court will rule on this issue. Not surprisingly, many police departments refuse to force blood because of the civil liability. Aside from the civil liability, should police officers be required to obtain a warrant from a judicial official before they force blood?


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