In DUI law, most Americans remember the fourth amendment from high school civics class: it protects our right to privacy from the government. Police officers need probable cause or a warrant to search our person our property. The fourth amendment is complicated, and occasionally the Supreme Court will have to settle an interpretative issue. One question that came up recently, in Birchfield v. North Dakota, was whether or not the fourth amendment allows for warrantless blood tests on people who had been arrested for DUI charges.
Ordinarily, the police operate under an exception to the fourth amendment called the searches incident to arrest exception; the police can search a person they arrest and their possessions to ensure their own safety. One frequent element of this is mandating that people take a breathalyzer test. Many states – including Illinois – penalize arrestees who choose not to blow. It's possible to draw an analogy between breathalyzer tests and blood tests – both are supposed to determine whether or not someone is driving while intoxicated.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled that there is no real comparison between these breath tests and blood tests. A breath test is non-invasive and not particularly humiliating, but a blood test is extremely invasive and involves medical equipment that many people find frightening. Because of this, the fourth amendment doesn't permit a state to penalize arrestees who choose not the take a blood test.
It can be difficult to see how these cases might apply to us, citizens of Illinois rather than North Dakota. Current Illinois law presumes that any driver has already consented to warrantless tests of their “blood, breath, or urine.” So, a cop who arrests you for a DUI still may attempt to acquire a blood sample without a warrant, as allowed under Illinois law. If this should happen, your best bet will be tell the officer that you do not consent. As with any legal issues, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at John W. Callahan ltd. are experienced with handling DUI cases and know all of the strategies for challenging warrantless searches of your person or properIn DUI law
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