Supreme Court rules in favor of warrants for sobriety blood tests

In an 8 to 1 decision, the Supreme Court said police officers would be required to obtain a warrant from a magistrate before invading one's privacy in regards to sobriety blood tests.

"If you don't agree to a breath test or a blood test, they're going to have to go find a judge and get a warrant. Now the reality is, it's pretty simple to do," said ACLU Attorney Jeff Blackburn.

The Court said it would honor the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches without a warrant. Police would need to present a warrant to a suspected drunk driver before a blood test.

"The 4th Amendment says you have to have a warrant, period. You can't search people without a warrant, period," said Blackburn.

The ruling says that in an emergency situation when police officers may find it hard to obtain a warrant, they are not required to wait for a judge's approval. Justices indicate that these emergencies should be the exception, and not the rule, in ordinary drunk driving stops.

But there are some exceptions to sobriety blood tests when it comes to state mandate.

"There is different case law in the state of Texas that we can take it automatically with no warrant," said Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas. "If you are stopped and you are suspected of being DUI and it's a 3rd offense which makes it a felony, I can mandatory take your blood."

"In Texas right now if there's an accident involving death, they don't have to have a warrant," said Blackburn. "If there are certain kids of cases where kids are involved, they don't have to have a warrant."


rivers suspected of driving under the influence may not always be in the clear.

"People ought to know that they have an absolute right to refuse these procedure, unless a judge gets a warrant and then of course, you don't really have any choice," said Blackburn.