Monday, October 22, 2012

Operating Under the Influence and Blood Alcohol Tests. New Rules Soon?

SCOTUS building
US Supreme Court will decide if involuntary, warrantless blood tests can be used at trial.  
I have written before about Operating Under the Influence Charges and some of the common issues that we see in those cases. I have also tried to give some suggestions about ways to avoid getting charged with Operating Under the Influence in the first place. Once people do get charged with OUI, they often think that it's an open and shut case and that they should just plead guilty. This is often not correct.


Breath or Blood Alcohol Tests:


The best piece of evidence that the prosecution has in a Drunk Driving case is the Breath or Blood alcohol test. There are a bunch of potential problems with these tests including the quality and maintenance of the test machinery, operator training, machine calibration and the procedure use to get the sample. Normally, people are arrested, told that they have a duty to submit to the test and then "voluntarily" blow in the machine or give a blood sample. Under some circumstances, even such voluntary tests can be kept out of court.

US Supreme Court To Consider Admissibility of Involuntary, Warrantless Blood Tests:


So what happens when a sample is taken without the driver's consent, with no warrant and then admitted as evidence at a Drunk Driving Trial? The United States Supreme Court is now set to consider this issue in the case of Missouri v. McNeely. The Court took the case in late September, it is on for the October 2012 term but has not been set for argument yet. The outcome could strengthen defenses for Operating Under the Influence charges.

I will be watching closely, Check back for updates here or on on my Google+ feed.