San Diego DUI Law Center

San Diego DUI drivers who have a .08% Blood Test (or breath test) or “refuse” a blood or breath test can lose their license, 4 months for the former and 1 year for the latter if a first time California DUI offender, remind attorneys.  The U.S. 4th Amendment still applies to DUI police searches for blood evidence, according to the Supreme Court, lawyers reaffirm.

The California Highway Patrol in San Diego and throughout the state has presently suspended “non-consensual (forced) blood draws in misdemeanor DUI cases and will get search warrants in felony DUI cases “unless there is an exigence of exigent circumstance beyond the mere dissipation of the suspect’s BAC.”

A San Diego California DUI driver’s protection against warrantless blood draws is a valuable safeguard. This means a real judge will in the future be able to exercise judgment into whether or not a a blood draw can be had.

The legality of warrantless blood draws will be evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances.  The requirement to get a warrant will be unnecessary when there is a compelling need to prevent the imminent destruction of important evidence and no time to get a warrant.

So in practice one would think San Diego DUI cops will first try to get judges to issue warrants for forced blood draws, probably by phone, radio or electronically.

The U.S. Supreme court previously upheld the taking of blood without a warrant because a cop might reasonably have believed the evidence of intoxication would dissipate by the time a warrant could be had.

This time the court rejected a flat rule requested by Missouri that warrants are unnecessary because of the danger that blood evidence would dissipate.

Instead, the McNeely Court reaffirmed the principle by refusing to give DUI cops blanket authority to get blood from a DUI suspect without first getting a warrant based on probable cause.  This puts San Diego California drunk driving cops on notice that a warrant is necessary except in truly exigent circumstances.

This case shows the Constitution still applies to folks suspected of a DUI, San Diego lawyer emphasize.  In America, police are to respect that people have the right to be free from unreasonable searches & seizures as defined by law and the courts,  even in drunk driving cases, attorneys remind.

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