The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard the case of Missouri v. McNeely, which involves a law enforcement officer ordering a blood draw on a suspected drunk driver without a search warrant.
Law enforcement is key to drunk driving prevention, and we need to ensure officers have the tools they need to enforce drunk driving laws — ultimately, making our roads safer. That is why MADD supports testing the BAC for of any drunk driver where there is probable cause and submitted an amicus brief in support of the blood draw, saying that the state has a compelling state interest to prevent drunk driving.
After law enforcement has arrested a driver based on their performance during a standard field sobriety test, they have probable cause to obtain BAC evidence in as timely a manner as possible. Because the body breaks down alcohol over time, it is imperative that this evidence is obtained as close to the arrest as possible to ensure the result is the most accurate depiction of the suspect’s BAC at the time of the alleged drunk driving offense. Failure to obtain timely BAC evidence often results in a lack of conviction.
Forcing officers to obtain a search warrant after probable cause has already been established gives drunk drivers continued motivation to refuse to submit these tests in the hope that the delay will give their body just enough time to process the alcohol and their lawyer just enough leverage to obtain an acquittal. It is our hope that the Supreme Court will reinforce the importance of drunk driving as a compelling state interest and allow law enforcement to enforce our drunk driving laws by obtaining the best evidence available at the time of arrest—an accurate BAC.