The United States Constitution guarantees a baseline level of privacy, so when law enforcement authorities violate that privacy, they’re attacking one of the pillars of American democracy. In the past, police were allowed to conduct both breath and blood tests whenever they thought that a person was intoxicated, but according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, officers are now generally required to obtain a warrant before forcing a suspect to provide a blood, urine, or breath sample in the context of a DUI investigation.
If you believe that your constitutional rights were violated after you were pulled over for a DUI, it is important that you seek the help of an experienced attorney. Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara has over 20 years of experience in the criminal justice system. If the police violated your rights before or after your arrest, you may be able to get your charges dismissed. At O’Meara Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients overcome their legal troubles through sound defense strategies and aggressive advocacy.
To find out how you can avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction, call 312-909-0706 today.
When an Officer Needs a DUI Search Warrant
Although an officer does not necessarily have to have a warrant to search your vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated, their reach is limited. In 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately decided that police had to obtain warrants to perform certain tests that are commonly associated with DUIs. It all started when three separate drivers, from North Dakota and Minnesota, were arrested for driving under the influence. All three were threatened with criminal penalties if they did not submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing. The drivers refused the tests, but they were all tested anyway.
After the men were arrested, they took their cases to their respective appellate courts, claiming that their Fourth Amendment rights (prohibiting unwarranted searches and seizures) were violated. While the supreme courts in North Dakota and Minnesota were not convinced, the United States Supreme Court had a different view. In a split decision, our nation’s highest court decided that forced blood tests, but not breathalyzer tests, were an inexcusable invasion of privacy. In most cases, the police will need to obtain warrants to force someone to submit to a blood test.
Why Are Warrants Not Required for Breath Tests?
Many people find it strange that warrants are not also required for breathalyzer tests. According to the Supreme Court, blood tests are far more intrusive on a person’s privacy when compared to breath tests. In addition, several of the judges stated that breath tests are far too valuable to ban, and that they help the police in making many justified arrests. These arguments overshadowed the concerns of other justices who believed that breathalyzers should require a warrant also.
How O’Meara Law Can Defend Your Rights
When you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, it’s probably hard to feel optimistic about your situation. But with an experienced Chicago DUI lawyer by your side, you may be able to raise one of the following defenses:
- Proving that the police did not read your Miranda rights
- Demonstrating that the police forced you to take a blood test and they didn’t have a warrant or circumstances justifying the lack of a warrant
- Arguing that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to begin their investigation and traffic stop in the first place
- Showing that your BAC test was improperly performed
If you have been arrested on DUI charges, you may be frightened about what could come next. At O’Meara Law, we will guide you through every step of the criminal justice process and ensure that your case has the best possible chance of success. To find out how we can help, call 312-909-0706 now.