U.S. Supreme Court: DUI Blood Draws Require a Warrant

The United States Supreme Court has spoken, and the ball is now in Colorado’s court. As of June 23, 2016, SCOTUS says that police are not allowed to conduct blood tests for suspected drunk drivers without first obtaining a warrant.

Express Consent v. The Supreme Court of the United States

In Colorado, we have what is known as an Express Consent law. What this means is that drivers in Colorado, just by getting a license, have already agreed to submit to blood or breath tests when an officer pulls them over on suspicion of DUI. Now that the court has ruled against blood tests without warrants, Colorado may have to rethink the Express Consent rule.

This precedent could also shake up the field of DUI-D arrests, as well; since there is no breath test for marijuana impairment (yet – they’re trying, though), the only way to test a person’s marijuana level is by drawing blood. Since it is the only option and cannot be performed without a warrant, some drivers with marijuana in their blood could be protected. And given that the science out there linking marijuana blood levels to impairment is still very shaky, this could protect quite a few drivers from DUI-D charges that they don’t deserve.

Some in the field of law enforcement and public policy have floated the idea of allowing saliva tests for marijuana, but the new SCOTUS ruling does not directly address saliva tests.

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