Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Missouri vs. McNeely Decision and How it Affects You

In June, the US Supreme Court ruled on a number of cases that had been brought before them.  One of the most visible cases was Missouri v. McNeely.  McNeely is, at its core, a 4th Amendment "search and seizure" case.  I touched on this case last fall, and promised to give updates on its progress, so here we go!

The SCOTUS ruled against the state of Missouri in this case and affirmed the Missouri high-court's decision to throw out the results of blood tests that involve a warrantless blood draw from the suspect in DWI cases.  As you can see by reading my previous post, this is in line with what I assumed would happen.  Allowing law enforcement to forcibly take blood, urine, or breath would give them an unprecedented amount of discretion.  Because the Court ruled in favor of the private citizen, this decision becomes the unequivocal law of the land.  States will have to abide by the ruling set forth in McNeely or be subject to having their decisions overturned by Federal courts.

While this may seem like somewhat of a narrow ruling, nothing could be further from the truth.  I, along with hundreds of other DWI attorneys across the state of Minnesota, are excited about the possible ramifications this ruling will have on DWI law in our state.  Essentially, the general feeling is that the Court ruling that blood samples require either permission from the suspect or a warrant could extend to breath and urine tests, as well.  This would change the process for a DWI arrest immensely and could turn the entire area of law on it's head.

You may be asking yourself, "But, Brodie, won't cops just start calling judges to get warrants on their way back to the station and get permission to take samples that way?"  Maybe, but they're not doing it right now.  Police are not making it their policy to obtain warrants for any kind of BAC sample.  This means that if you are currently facing DWI charges, or if you are arrested in the near future for DWI and the police do not obtain a warrant to take your BAC sample, you may be in line to have your test thrown out and get off scot-free.  If you're in this situation, get yourself an Minnesota DWI attorney right now and allow them to file the correct paperwork to get your challenge of your BAC test rolling.  It's called a McNeely challenge, and attorneys all over the state of MN are filing dozens of them everyday.

As always, the content of this blog is for entertainment purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice, nor does reading this blog create an attorney/client relationship between the author and the reader.  If you or a loved one are dealing with a DWI charge and are looking for legal advice or representation, contact a Minnesota DWI Attorney as soon as possible.