DUI Law bruce on 17 Apr 2013
In what is known as a plurality decision, one in which the judges agree with each other in certain parts but not others, the slim majority in Missouri v McNeely, has stated that police officers cannot take blood from a suspected DUI driver unless the officer first obtains a warrant from a Judge. Relying on the United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, commonly known as Search and Seizure, the Court said that the mere fact that a persons body is processing alcohol, and therefore the amount is slowly decreasing, does not create the same kind of emergency, known as exigency, as typical in other situations.
For example, if the police hear there may be explosives in a persons apartment that are set to go off, or the police hear a drug dealer flushing drugs in the toilet, then it is imperative that the police be allowed to go in to the apartment to prevent the explosion or stop the drug destruction. But when police are confronted by simple body metabolism, the need is not so severe. This is especially true in light of the modern practice of stand by judges with phone warrant procedures. This is a process where an officer can simply call a Judge, be sworn on the phone, and explain the need for the warrant so that the neutral detached Judge can decide if a warrant is constitutional.
The decision protects all of us from forced Governmental intrusion not in to our homes, but under our very skin.