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Supreme court upholds blood test rulings

If a driver in South Carolina is pulled over under suspicion of DUI, the police may no longer administer a blood-alcohol test without permission or a warrant in most cases. This is due to a recent ruling from the Supreme Court where a man was given a blood test without his permission or a warrant, and two lower courts threw out the evidence because of it. The Supreme Court upheld the lower courts ruling stating that the dissipation of alcohol in someone's blood stream is not sufficient to override the requirement that police get a warrant before subjecting someone to a blood test.

In the case in question, a man was pulled over after a police officer observed the man speeding and swerving. The man had two drunk driving convictions and failed several field sobriety tests. After he refused to take a breath test, the police officer took him to a hospital for a blood test but did not obtain a warrant to do so.

Even though the man's blood tests showed his blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit in the state, the officer's failure to get a warrant for the blood test made the evidence inadmissible. The only exceptions to the requirement for someone's permission or a warrant are in cases in which evidence could be destroyed or if an individual's life is in danger.

If someone has been charged with a DUI and he or she is convicted, he or she could face large fines, a suspended or revoked driver's license and even jail time. Individuals may benefit from contacting a lawyer who could help them build a defense and possibly determine if proper procedures were followed by the police.

Source: NPR, "Court Rejects Routine No-Warrant DUI Blood Tests," April 17, 2013

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