A recent case in California brought the subject of warrantless blood
draws up again. The case involved a woman who had killed six people in a
2014 accident involving drunk driving. The woman had entered I-60
traveling in the wrong direction, which is what precipitated the crash.
The suspected driver was found unconscious in the wreck and officers had
her blood drawn at the hospital, without first getting a warrant. The
BAC level was over .08.
The driver was found guilty and appealed the verdict on the basis that
the blood draw was done without a warrant and was therefore
unconstitutional, being a violation of the driver's Fourth Amendment
rights. The appeal court did not agree with her and sided with the
prosecution. This may give one pause, however, there is precedence. Just
as officers may have to enter a building without a search warrant if
they hear screaming and gunshots, officers may have to draw blood if
there are "exigent circumstances." Basically, exigent circumstances are
there when time is of the essence.
In the case of the warrantless blood draw discussed above, the exigent
circumstance what that the individual may have remained unconscious
until such time as her body may have metabolized the alcohol, rendering
a blood draw without value. The appeals court decided that, since time
was very much of the essence, the warrantless blood draw should be
allowed as evidence.
If you live in Burlington, Essex, Colchester, Winooski, Williston,
Shelburne, or anywhere in the state of Vermont, and have been arrested
or charged with DUI or any crime, call Handy Law for aggressive and
experienced legal defense.