The fourth amendment to the US Constitution provides protection for American citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Should a law enforcement officer want to search you, your home, or your vehicle, they must have probable cause and a search warrant signed by a judge. There are few legal exceptions to this protocol. Were an officer to search you or your property with no probable cause and no warrant, a prosecutor couldn’t use the evidence collected against you in a court case.
Law enforcement also needs a warrant if they want to collect a blood sample to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and determine whether you were driving under the influence. Without your consent, police need a warrant to draw blood as evidence based on a US Supreme Court ruling.
Your consent to allow a blood draw for BAC testing negates the need for a warrant. What if you refuse to submit for testing, and the police compel you to take a test without a warrant? A Lansing defense attorney with DUI experience may be able to challenge the test results. O’Keefe Law can work with you to defend your OWI case in court.
What is implied consent?
Part of obtaining a driver’s license in the state of Michigan is agreeing to the policy of implied consent. Implied consent means that you agree to provide a sample for BAC testing if suspected of operating a vehicle while impaired either by drugs or alcohol. Implied consent is considered part of the privilege of driving.
BAC chemical testing uses breath or blood samples to measure your blood alcohol concentration to determine if you’ve been drinking and how much. The legal limit for alcohol consumption in Michigan is 0.08 percent BAC, and more severe penalties apply to a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher. Anyone testing above the minimum limit will likely receive an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge. Blood tests can also determine drug use and impairment while driving.
If you are pulled over in a traffic stop and an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, the officer will usually first ask you to take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, the officer will ordinarily seek a warrant to obtain a blood sample to test for alcohol and determine your BAC. If the police suspect you of drugged driving, they will normally ask for a blood sample. If you do not consent to supply a sample, the officer may get a warrant compelling you to provide one.
What is a blood test warrant?
The police must demonstrate that sufficient probable cause exists in order to obtain a warrant and test your blood for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the police convince a judge that their suspicions are justified and a court grants the warrant, the police can then compel you to provide a blood sample for testing.
However, for DUI suspects involved in an accident that requires medical treatment, a warrant is not needed to test a blood sample drawn for treatment purposes. If a person was involved in a car accident and taken to an emergency room, an ER doctor can order a blood test as part of a routine medical examination. If the test results indicate a patient’s BAC was over the legal limit or the person had illegal drugs in their system at the time of the accident, a prosecutor could use the results as evidence in court.
How can an OWI defense attorney help me?
If the police coerced you into providing a blood sample without first obtaining a warrant, it’s possible they violated your constitutional rights. An experienced Lansing OWI defense attorney can review your case and challenge the validity of a blood test conducted in this manner. Your attorney can possibly prevent the prosecution from entering the test results as evidence against you in an OWI case.
Also, OWI defendants should understand that even a legal blood test using a warrant could be invalid. Potentially, the judge may have issued the warrant using erroneous or incomplete information. If the police used an invalid warrant to compel you to provide a blood sample, then they have violated your constitutional rights.
An experienced OWI defense attorney can review a warrant and possibly discover details indicating that the warrant was invalid at the time. You want a Lansing DUI attorney with experience to challenge the validity of a warrant and the collected evidence when needed. Your attorney could have an OWI or drugged driving charge dismissed or reduced if they can determine that the warrant for blood testing was invalid.
Were you charged with a DUI or OWI?
Contact O’Keefe Law today at 517-273-0428 for a confidential free consultation. Let us help you with an OWI or DUI case and determine whether law enforcement followed the warrant protocol correctly in your case.