Prior to the 2013 decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States, a warrant was not needed anytime someone refused a breathalyzer test or the intoxilizer at the police station after being arrested for a DUI.
Driving on our thoroughfares is considered a privilege and not a right. Thusly, if you refuse to take a breath test or the dreaded ” breathalyzer,” you are subject to having your blood drawn at your expense. This cost is usually roughly $1,000 or more.
However, since the latest decision b the Supreme Court in 2013, the court held that if it is practical to do so, then a warrant is now required before a blood sample can be taken from a DUI arrestee. What the court means by saying, ” if practicable to do so,” is simply that if there is time to get a warrant through all the proper protocol ( probable cause, neutral and detached magistrate with facts pleaded with particularity, etc.), then the officer should do so.
This is actually a simple concept. For example, if a person refuses to take the breath test, then the implied consent laws kick in, and either way, they must be submitted to a blood test or some other form of taking the person’s BAC level. Now the officer and the detainee in the back of his police car probable have anywhere from 10-30 minutes prior to reaching the intoxilizer station. This is plenty of time to get a valid warrant.
By making this rule, the Supreme Court has helped both sides of the spectrum. From the prosecutorial side, needing a warrant only solidifies their case when blood is drawn. However, it also helps the criminal defense side immensely, because, without the proper warrant, no blood can now be taken, which gives criminal defense attorneys more room for argument.
This law is very new and has just recently been enacted at the start of this year. If you find your blood being drawn without a proper warrant after you have been charged with a DUI in South Carolina, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information