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Rights of alleged drunk driver violated during arrest

In New York, as well as in every other state, citizens have certain rights that are protected by the Constitution. Even if someone stands accused of a crime, those rights remain intact and it is expected that they be upheld. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are instances where, due to specific circumstances, law enforcement officials put proving guilt above one's Constitutional rights. A related case in one state could have major effects on prosecuting drunk driving cases.

Questions raised regarding one man's rights, as protected by the Fourth Amendment, have made it all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. After being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, a law enforcement officer allegedly forced the man to have blood drawn for a test of his blood alcohol content without obtaining a warrant for the sample. The man apparently refused the blood test, as well as two requests to take a Breathalyzer test.

Some states allow warrantless blood draws if law enforcement cannot get a warrant in an emergency situation where evidence could be lost if the sample is not taken in a timely manner. Alcohol, for example can metabolize in the bloodstream, leaving no evidence it had ever been present. The arresting officer reportedly thought this was the case in his state and that he did not need a warrant for the sample. The Supreme Court upheld the individual state's ruling that drawing blood without a warrant was a violation of the man's rights, making the test results inadmissible.

It may be of benefit to get legal representation if you have been accused of DUI, DWI or any other criminal offense. An attorney who is familiar with the state's legal system can help look out for your best interests and ensure your rights are upheld.

Source: The Washington Post, "Supreme Court limits warrantless drug tests for drunken driving suspects", Robert Barnes, April 17, 2013

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