Boise, ID- In early December, the Idaho Supreme Court handed down a decision that will further strengthen the rights of individuals who are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence.
The state Supreme Court ruled that forcing a DUI suspect to undergo a blood test against their will is a violation of person’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. After examining the fact of two DUI cases, the court established that when a person refuses to take a sobriety test, police must obtain a warrant before they can draw a person’s blood to obtain evidence of intoxication.
The Idaho high court came to that decision, after hearing arguments for two separate DUI cases, the Idaho Statesman reported.
In one of those cases, a man who was pulled over for speeding admitted to police he had been drinking that night but refused to submit to a breath test. He was then taken to a hospital for blood draw which he objected to and only relented once two security guards arrived. The blood test revealed that the man’s blood alcohol level was .217, and he was charged with felony DUI.
The other case involved a man who was pulled over in Kootenai County and fled. As he was driving away he struck a patrol car and then crossed over into Washington State. He was eventually apprehended and taken to a Seattle hospital for a blood draw. He was then charged with driving under the influence and other felony charges.
Idaho, like many states, have what are referred to as “implied consent laws.” These laws state that by obtaining a driver’s license, a person agrees to submit to sobriety tests when asked by police. Refusing to submit to these tests carries a separate set of consequences which generally entails an automatic suspension of their driver’s license.
In both those cases, district courts suppressed the results of The Idaho Supreme Court decision means that police agencies across the state will have to get a warrant before they draw a person’s blood.
Last year, in their decision for the case, Missouri vs. McNeely, the U.S. Supreme Court established that the natural dissipation of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream was sufficient cause to violate an individual’s Constitutional rights during a routine traffic stop.
In the majority opinion, Justice Sonya Sotomayor, “In those drunk-driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so.”
When it comes to any arrest, the way in which police obtain their evidence is very important to your defense. When you enlist the services of an Idaho DUI attorney, one of their first actions will be to question whether an officer had probable cause to stop you and whether they followed the letter of the law when they obtained the evidence they plan to use against you.