The justices will hear arguments Wednesday in the case of a drunk driver forced to submit to a blood test. State supreme courts are divided on whether that violates the Fourth Amendment.
The US Supreme Court takes up a case on Wednesday that examines whether police must obtain a warrant from a neutral judge before forcibly extracting blood from a suspected drunk driver.
At issue is when police have the authority to force a motorist to submit to a blood test after the motorist refuses a breathalyzer test.
Under the Fourth Amendment, Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. That means before police invade a person’s privacy, they must demonstrate to a neutral judge that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. If the judge is convinced, a search warrant is issued.
That’s what happens in most cases. But the Supreme Court has ruled that under certain circumstances police are free to conduct a search without first obtaining a warrant.
The question in Wednesday’s case, Missouri v. McNeely (11-1425), is whether a state trooper violated motorist Tyler McNeely’s Fourth Amendment rights when the trooper ordered a hospital attendant to forcibly take a blood sample from a hand-cuffed Mr. McNeely to preserve evidence of his elevated blood-alcohol level.
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