The United States Supreme Court heard argument yesterday regarding whether police need to obtain a warrant before forcing a person to provide blood for a DUI test. The case involves a Missouri man that was stopped on suspicion of DUI. In Missouri they allow a person to choose to participate in evidentiary testing, i.e. blood or breath, test for DUIs or lose their license for one year. In the case before the United States Supreme Court the defendant chose to not have a blood test but the police forced him to provide one anyway.
From the argument it appeared that the Supreme Court Justices were entertaining the idea that police should be required to obtain a warrant before forcing anyone to provide a blood sample. However, it also appeared that the Justices were not willing to say that it would happen in all DUI tests done.
If the US Supreme Court comes out with a ruling later in the year indicating that a blood test requires a warrant first how would it effect drivers and suspected DUI drivers in Nevada. This is very difficult to state at this time because the nuances of the Supreme Court’s ruling are not clear, so this is pure speculation…
First you need to look at the current state of the law in Nevada for suspected DUI. Currently Nevada law allows for the police to do forced blood draws from any person that they suspect is DUI. Nevada is different from Missouri in that Nevada does not provide a choice for drivers to either submit to the blood test or lose their license, Nevada says that all people must provide a blood or breath test when suspected of DUI. A driver only gets a choice between which test they take, blood or breath test, when it is believed that it is their first time DUI offense.
If the US Supreme Court says that police need to obtain a warrant before a blood draw, it could stop the way all DUIs are handled in Las Vegas and the State of Nevada. No longer would it be a given that all people who drive a car are subjecting themselves to the possibility that they will be strapped to a gurney and forced to provide blood. However, the US Supreme Court could easily state that because Missouri allows for a choice for drivers and the drivers do not choose the test that the police then must obtain a warrant. If that was the case, Nevada’s laws may not change at all.
My belief is that whatever the US Supreme Court decides this will be a change in how the legal community looks at DUIs and could foster a long series of litigation on the constitutionality of each state’s laws. For more information on DUI laws in Las Vegas, Nevada go to my webpage.