Should police be able to draw blood from unconscious DUI suspects?

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Recently, the Supreme Court made a ruling that not only violates the Fourth Amendment, but also many other major rulings around the country. In June, the highest court in the land determined that police can withdraw blood from unconscious DUI suspects to prove they were driving while impaired. Unfortunately, it disagrees with their past rulings and the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment states that no person shall have their blood drawn without providing consent, or when law enforcement does not first obtain a warrant. The procedure is considered invasive and a violation of a person’s rights. Still, the Supreme Court made their radical decision, arguing that drivers have given implied consent to have their blood alcohol levels tested just by being behind the wheel.

“The decision is a disgrace to the Constitution,” says Karin Riley Porter of Price Benowitz. “It is a clear violation of a person’s rights. There is also no need for it. Obtaining a warrant is not the long process it once was. Technology has made it much easier, and has allowed law enforcement to obtain a warrant much more quickly.” 

The argument for drawing blood from unconscious DUI suspects is that a person’s blood alcohol level can dissipate within a relatively short period of time. However, that argument is just not strong enough to determine that a person deserves to have their rights violated. 

The ruling goes against a 2013 ruling the Supreme Court made when they determined drawing blood without a suspect’s consent was unconstitutional. That vote ended in the same 5-4 decision this most recent ruling received. Unfortunately, two of the justices that voted in that majority no longer serve in the court. 

The court used a Wisconsin law when making their decision. In Wisconsin, an unconscious suspect’s blood can be drawn without their consent. However, it becomes a very dangerous situation when the Supreme Court chooses to follow state law, rather than the federal law they are supposed to abide by. This recent ruling is only going to infringe on the rights of citizens, and will not make the roads any safer.