Court Examines DUI Blood Tests

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Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 11:20am

Supreme Court hears case of DUI suspect forced to take a blood test without a warrant.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates Americans drove drunk 112 million times in 2010.

The Supreme Court is now considering whether police are violating those drivers fourth amendment rights to privacy if they obtain a non-consensual blood test without getting a warrant first.

"The police will not always be as scrupulous as they need to be protecting privacy on the other side of the balance," said Steven Shapiro of American Civil Liberties Union.

All 50 states have laws requiring those arrested on suspicion of drunk- driving consent to a blood alcohol test.

The ACLU says 25 states also have laws requiring police to seek a warrant when drivers refuse.

Lawyers for Missouri and the Obama administration do not think police should have to wait, and many prosecutors agree.

"It's crucial for law enforcement to obtain the blood alcohol level in a timely fashion and evidence being destroyed every minute we wait," said Scott Burns, Executive Director of National District Attorneys Association.

Forty-seven years ago the Supreme Court ruled that officers could only forgo a warrant in special circumstances.

Today Justices struggled with whether the dissipation of alcohol in the blood over time meets the threshold.

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