Missouri v. McNeely Supreme ...

Missouri v. McNeely Supreme Court Case

The administration of field sobriety tests, blood and breath tests to determine whether or not an individual is intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, is a much-contested subject. In a recent U.S. Supreme Court case of Missouri v. McNeely, the question arose as to whether or not exigent circumstances could be considered to justify the violation of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights.

The case originally started when Tyler G. McNeely was stopped by a Missouri officer for excessive speed. After failing multiple field sobriety tests, and refusing to submit to a breath test, McNeely was taken to a local medical clinic where a blood test was administered. The blood test revealed his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be significantly above the legal limit, so McNeely was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated. As the officer and medical staff did not have the man's consent nor did they have a warrant, McNeely filed a lawsuit for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Prosecutors in the case argued that the officer had no choice but to have the blood test administered, as exigent circumstances existed, ashad the officer waited to obtain a warrant, the blood alcohol would have metabolized, thus destroying evidence in the case.

The court did not agree with the prosecutors and ruled in favor of the defendant, stating it was a clear violation of McNeely's rights to have administered a blood test without his consent or a legal warrant. A state appeals court then proceeded to reverse the trial court's decision in favor of the prosecution. The case moved up to the Missouri Supreme Court where it was reversed once again, ruling that the administration of the blood test did in fact violate McNeely's Fourth Amendment right to be secure and protected against unreasonable search and seizure. On September 25th, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the Missouri Supreme Court's decision in the case.

If you or a loved one feels their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, or you need the counsel of a skilled St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, contact Brent Labovitz, Attorney at Law today. As a former public defender, and with years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Labovitz has the knowledge and expertise you want defending your rights.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DWI

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