In Utah, a driver cannot be pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and forced to submit to a blood test. Rather, police must first obtain a search warrant before ordering the blood draw.
The issue of whether or not a drunk driving suspect’s blood can be drawn without a warrant made its way before the U.S. Supreme Court last month.
In the ruling, eight out of nine of the justices all sided that a warrantless blood draw is a violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was in response to a drunk driving case involving a man who was arrested and forced to submit to a blood test while handcuffed. In this case, the man had refused the blood test, yet the arresting officer brought him to the hospital where a technician drew his blood anyway. The blood test found the man was over the 0.08 percent legal driving limit.
In Utah, this should rarely ever happen.
Police are supposed to be trained in how to quickly obtain a search warrant for a blood draw. If for some reason a search warrant was not first obtained this could be grounds to have the results of the blood test thrown out. Without this, there may not be enough evidence to convict someone of drunk driving.
However, it should be noted that Utah does allow for warrantless blood draws under special circumstances.
Like if a suspect was in an accident and is now unconscious and about to go under for surgery. In this type of case, a warrant would not necessarily be needed.
In the end, those arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence should keep in mind they have rights that cannot be violated. If during an arrest there is reason to believe constitutional rights were violated, an experienced criminal defense attorney should be contacted.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete the intake form below.
Greg S. Law, provides aggressive criminal defense representation in the Salt Lake City area and throughout the state of Utah, including cities such as Ogden, Provo, Park City, Sandy, Orem, Heber, Vernal, Duchesne, Roosevelt, Tooele, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, Layton, Kaysville, Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful, Price, Moab, Cedar City and St. George. Salt Lake County ∙ Davis County ∙ Weber County ∙ Utah County ∙ Summit County (UT)