The Supreme Court heard arguments in McNeely vs Missouri this week. The issue was whether the 4th Amendment’s requirement for a warrant actually applies to DWI blood draws. The defendant in Mcneely refused to give a breath specimen, so the police just held him down and took his blood, which was allowed by statute in Missouri.
This should be a straight forward issue; the State shouldn’t be able to simply over turn the bill of rights by statute.. Blood draws are a search, a very intrusive search at that, and we require warrants for searches. Of course, DWI and drug prosecutions are the tip of the spear when it comes to destroying the bill of rights. We’ve lost more freedom to save dope convictions and DWI cases than we’ll ever get back.
The Government in McNeely argued that every DWI is an emergency, so they shouldn’t have to get a warrant. That’s a pretty broad definition of emergency and it really makes the government look lazy. I’m sure it would be easier to just ignore the 4th Amendment and let the conviction machine run unabated. But that’s the point, we require warrants because we can not trust the government to do the right thing. We want to limit the power of government to act without oversight.
Warrants in DWI cases are extremely easy to get, all it takes it a fax machine and a fill in the blank application that any 7th grader could complete. The Government in McNeely argued that waiting 30 minutes was too long, and that the blood evidence would disappear. In Texas, our courts have allowed blood draws to be used against a defendant when the blood draws took place 2-3 hours after arrest. So at least in Texas, there is no emergency for at least 3 hours. That’s plenty of time to get a warrant.
Currently the Texas warrantless blood draw scheme allows the police, without any judicial oversight, to forcibly take your blood in certain DWI cases. I’ve always felt this was unconstitutional and I hope current victims of these vampire tactics assert their rights in court.