The Austin American Statesman did a good job with their article on what a new Supreme Court case may mean to DWIs.
Involuntary, warrantless, blood tests may be unconstitutional after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in MISSOURI v. MCNEELY.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that involuntary blood draws from drunken driving suspects can be unconstitutional. But the court offered little guidance on when they might be allowed, leaving the fate of pending cases in doubt.
The court’s ruling said officers can only take blood samples without a warrant in “exigent circumstances,” but did not define the term, and lower courts must now refine the ruling on a case-by-case basis.
It will be interesting to see what will happen to all our pending DWI cases in which our client’s blood was drawn without consent or a search warrant. With these cases, blood was taken based on Texas statutes which had previously allowed officers to demand blood without a warrant. These include accidents in which there was a death or serious injury; when children were in the vehicle; when the person had has two or more drunken driving convictions; or when the suspect has a single previous conviction for intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter or drunken driving with a child passenger, among others. As you can see, these, for the most part, are felony DWI charges.
You can bet we are going to challenge all of these statutory blood draws. If we can get the blood result suppressed by the Judge, we have moved the case a long way towards getting the result we, and out clients want. The McNeely case may end up being a very good tool in fighting “blood test” DWIs.