Tag Archives: DUI Blood Test

When St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness Collide…Law Enforcement is on High Alert for DUI

Driver's License SuspensionMarch Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, starts this week. March Madness is the college equivalent to the NFL Super Bowl. Fans from all over the flock to the tournament, which is hosted in Houston, Texas, this year. Those fans, who are unable to attend the tournament in person, attend watch parties and other special events.

In Las Vegas several casinos and party venues, including Treasure Island, The Hard Rock Hotel, and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be hosting special March Madness events and offering luxury events with premium seating, open bar, and other festivities.

As a lone event, March Madness will bring out a large numbers of patrons looking to have a good time, but March Madness occurs the same week as St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday commemorating Christianity’s arrival in Ireland and widely celebrates Irish culture. Commonly, people celebrate the holiday by wearing green, yellow, and white and partaking in traditional Irish foods and beer.

Party venues throughout Las Vegas and surrounding areas will have drink specials to attract the March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day crowds. In light of the celebratory spirit, Las Vegas law enforcement will be on high alert for drunk and impaired drivers.

According to a press release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department there will be a “Sobriety Saturation” event on St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 7:00pm to 3:00am. During Sobriety Saturation events law enforcement focuses considerable effort on identifying drug and alcohol impaired drivers before they are involved in a collision.

With the increased effort by Las Vegas law enforcement, it is important to be aware of the following:

Las Vegas Law Enforcement can Force a Blood Draw with a Warrant

Assembly Bill 67 went into effect late last year.  Assembly Bill 67 requires law enforcement apply for a warrant or other court order directing for the use of reasonable force to obtain a blood sample.

This means if a driver is stopped under the suspicion of drunk or impaired driving, the driver cannot simply refuse to submit to a blood test. The law enforcement officer now has the power to apply for a warrant or court order authorizing the use of reasonable force to obtain a blood sample.

If the driver refuses the blood draw, requires the officer to obtain a warrant, and is later found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above, the driver will not only be charged with DUI but also have his or her driver’s license revoked for  fifteen months.

Assembly Bill 67 makes it pointless to refuse a blood sample. Once a driver refuses, the officer can request a warrant or court order from a judge. With such high profile events in the Las Vegas area, judges will likely be on call around the clock to sign a warrant.

Drunk or Impaired Driving in Nevada is Dangerous 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 1,0125 people were killed in alcohol related automobile accidents. According to the CDC, the percentage of alcohol related fatalities is slightly lower than the national average, due to law enforcement’s aggressive efforts, including regular sobriety saturation events.

Predicting BAC is Impossible

For legal purposes, intoxication is determined by a driver’s BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration. In Nevada, a driver age 21 or older can be charged with DUI if he or she has a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

A BAC of 0.08 indicates the driver has 0.8 parts alcohol in his or her blood per 1,000 parts of blood. An individual’s BAC is a result of several factors including the individual’s weight, fat content, metabolism, amount of alcohol consumed, frequency of alcohol consumed, food consumed, amount of time since the last alcohol beverage was consumed, and other factors.

It is impossible to precisely predict whether a beverage will make a person’s BAC reach or exceed 0.08.Many drivers will say they feel fine or do not feel intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. It is important to air on the side of caution and not drive after consuming alcohol.

Nevada Imposes Severe Penalties for Drunk Driving

Even for a first-offense DUI, the state of Nevada imposes serious criminal penalties. A conviction for a first offense DUI is punishable by jail time between 48 hours to a maximum of 6 months, or, at least 96 hours of community service.

The court may also impose a fine between $340 and $1,175.00, a mandatory alcohol education course, license suspension,  and the installation of a breath interlock device. The breath interlock device tests BAC before the vehicle can start.

Penalties for second and subsequent DUI are more severe and result in longer jail time and steeper fines.

A conviction for DUI can seriously disrupt aspect of a driver’s professional and personal life. It is better to be safe than sorry this holiday. Designate a sober driving, hire a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, and refrain from driving. The consequences for a DUI conviction are not worth it.


Joel Mann is an experienced DUI defense attorney located in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has nearly a decade of experienced defending individuals faced with all types of DUI charges, including First DUI, Repeat DUI, DUI and Marijuana, Out of State DUI, and Per Se DUI.

If you are arrested and face DUI charges during the March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day festivities, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. Joel Mann offers free consultations and will begin building your defense right away. Contact The Law Office of Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 to schedule a free consultation.

Supreme Court: Officers Must Get a Warrant Before DUI Blood Test in Most Cases

U.S. Supreme CourtA Supreme Court decision may end the practice of Las Vegas police officers forcibly strapping down and sticking a needle in DUI suspects without a warrant. In the case, Missouri v. McNeely, the court ruled that the police must obtain a warrant before drawing the blood of a DUI suspect, unless the police are able to demonstrate an exception to the warrant requirement established in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Tyler McNeely was pulled over by a Missouri state trooper. The trooper said he was unstable, and asked him to perform a field sobriety test. McNeely consented to the test and failed. The officer asked him to take a breath test, which he refused. The trooper took him to a hospital to take a blood test. McNeely refused the test, but the trooper ordered the lab technician to proceed, anyway. Prosecutors attempted to use the blood test as evidence.

The issue at hand was whether there was a sufficient “exigent circumstance” to force a DUI blood test without a warrant. An exigent circumstance is a special circumstance in which certain procedural matters that arise from the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizures, like warrants, can be skipped over. One such recognized exigent circumstance is when evidence is likely to be destroyed.   Recently in the news with the Boston bombing suspect, we have seen the public safety exception discussed as another exception to the warrant requirement.

In the McNeely case, the government argued that because alcohol naturally dissipates out of the blood over time, the evidence of the suspects BAC is being destroyed and therefore meets an exception to the warrant requirement.  The government argued that the exigent circumstances of destruction of evidence allows the police to forcibly draw blood from DUI suspects.  In the case, the prosecutors relied on Schmerber v. California, a 1966 case in which the Court ruled admissible a DUI blood test when the suspect was taken to a hospital for injuries.

The Court rejected the government’s arguments. While they did not overturn Schmerber, they said the case was only applicable to very narrow circumstances. In this case, the police could get a warrant, and either chose not to or were too disorganized to proceed. While the Court did not go so far as to say a warrant is necessary every time the police wish to draw blood, they said that when police can “reasonably obtain” a warrant, “without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search,” they must do so before obtaining an unconsented blood test.

The implications on Las Vegas DUI prosecution are huge. Under Nevada law, if a DUI suspect refuses a blood test, police may use “reasonable force” to obtain the sample — in other words, strap the suspect does and insert a needle — without a warrant. The justification for this law has been that Nevada drivers give implied consent to a blood test. However, under the McNeely ruling, this practice is likely to considered unconstitutional.

Currently, if a driver is pulled over in Las Vegas and the officer starts demanding any kind of test, including breath and blood tests, it would be in that driver’s best interests to refuse the DUI test. Unlike many other states, there are no consequences for refusal, like license suspension, in Nevada.

If the officer then forcibly straps the suspect down to take the test without a warrant, under the McNeely ruling, that test is likely inadmissible in court. The primary evidence against the suspect can no longer be used, often making for a weak case for the prosecution.

Due to this new United States Supreme Court ruling in McNeely, the state of Nevada DUI cases is in a state of flux.  This means that issues that were usually not litigated, because of long-established precedence, should be litigated all over again.  It is important that you discuss your case with an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney who has a good understanding of the changing law and how it can affect your case.

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