DUI While Sleeping
Recently, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision where a majority of justices voted to uphold the admission in evidence of blood-alcohol test results that police obtained after ordering a blood draw on an unconscious suspect without first getting a warrant. Mitchell v. Wisconsin,588 US ___ (2019).
The court reasoned that the evidence of alcohol in the blood created an exigency ¾that the evidence of the crime of drunk driving would go away over time ¾and therefore the time taken to obtain the warrant would see the natural destruction of the evidence. Based on the exigency the court excepted the warrant requirement.
Obtaining an electronic search warrant in DUI cases is not time consuming nor onerous. Admittedly, there are very real social costs to excluding evidence in DUI cases. However, to excuse the search warrant the court is weakening our Fourth Amendment protections. If we consent to search when we drive a car ¾this is the implied consent you sign up for when you get your license (even while sleeping, apparently) ¾then where else might we unwittingly consent? May a state pass a law that says if we live in that state then we consent to a search of our house?
These seemingly innocuous conclusions reached by the court have a way of piling up. If you are charged with a crime you should demand that all of your rights are asserted vigorously. You deserve it and a free society demands it.