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US waits for Supreme Court decision on forced blood testing in DUI cases

In September of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide on whether police across the United States must get a search warrant before forcing a person suspected of drunk driving to have blood drawn. This comes in the wake of many states already having passed several laws which some have argued are against a person's fourth amendment rights.

Some have asked whether this will change Michigan's already existing implied consent laws, which can lead to a fine and an automatic license suspension to any person who refuses to submit to chemical blood testing. At this point, it's difficult to say because lower courts are so divided on the issue, making the Supreme Court's decision that much more important.

According to FBI statistics, more than 1.4 million people are arrested each year in the U.S. for driving under the influence. If the Supreme Court makes it illegal for anyone accused of drunk driving to refuse a blood test, at least 27 states, that currently require a warrant, would be directly affected.

A representative from the American Civil Liberties Union points out that "while every drunk-driving investigation will involve the eventual dissipation of a suspect's blood alcohol content, not every case will involve a risk of losing evidence of intoxication before search."

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are convening this month to make a decision regarding this law. They say they will take all cases into consideration, including the argument that forced testing could violate people's fourth amendment rights. It is unclear at this time when they will reach a decision.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle, "Force Blood Tests in Drunk Driving Cases Get High Court Review," Greg Stohr, Sept. 25, 2012

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