Many Texans charged with a DUI or DWI have a new legal defense since the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that law enforcement cannot proceed with a blood draw of a suspected drunk driver unless the suspect consents or the officer obtains a search warrant.
The ruling came from a Missouri case in which a man challenged an involuntary, warrantless blood draw that resulted in a DWI charge. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that in almost all cases, taking involuntary blood draws without a warrant involves a violation of the suspect’s Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects suspects from warrantless search and seizure. Of course, the Missouri government made an exigent circumstances argument – in emergency scenarios, law enforcement should not wait to obtain a warrant before taking action. Despite their ruling, the Supreme Court justices disagreed on when a warrant would be unnecessary in the nearly 50-page long opinion.
Of course, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, like many other law enforcement leaders, stated that, “out of an overabundance of caution,” his officers will simply require warrants for every blood draw from suspected drunk drivers. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court ruling does not affect Austin’s nearly 2-year-old no-refusal initiatives which involve having a judge on call to approve search warrant requests from officers seeking search warrants for suspected drunken drivers who refuse a breath or blood test. In nearby cities like San Marcos, it is unclear what will happen to the numerous, pending drunken driving cases in which an involuntary, warrantless blood test was administered before the DWI or DUI charge was issued.
If you’ve been charged with drunken driving, contact the experienced DWI defense lawyers of The Kyle Law Firm today for your free consultation.