Should Cops Be Sucking Drivers' Blood Without A Warrant?

Illustration for article titled Should Cops Be Sucking Drivers Blood Without A Warrant?

We at Jalopnik are huge fans of driving, but we think it should be only done when you're not under the influence of booze. You put your own life at risk when you do that, along with that of anyone else who might be on the road. In addition, the legal penalties suck massively when you get caught.

In many places across the country, police are equipped with tools to nail your ass if you've been drinking and driving — even if you refuse a breath test. Officers will engage in so-called "no refusal" periods where they will forcibly draw and then test someone's blood when they refuse to blow into the breathalyzer. You've probably heard about this where you live.

Most of the time, the cops have to get a search warrant from the courts before they seize your blood. But that's not the case in Missouri — although that might change soon.


This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case out of the Show Me State that could decide whether or not police need a search warrant before the draw your blood in a drunken driving case. According to the report in Bloomberg, the state contends that the Constitution doesn't require cops to get a warrant, even though the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that they do.

It's nothing new here in Texas. The police have been doing no refusal periods where I live in Austin for years, typically on weekends when we have special events like ACL Fest or SXSW. And in my native San Antonio, it's no refusal all the time: you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, and you refuse to blow, the cops can get your blood.

It's catching on in other places, too. A new law recently went into effect in Washington State authorizing state troopers to draw blood.

But here in Texas, the police get a search warrant before they do. That's the issue with Missouri's laws.


Since the Supreme Court case involves driving, I thought I'd ask you folks what you think about the whole "no refusal" issue. Once again, I want to stress that the smartest and best way to avoid this scenario is to not drink and drive.

Should police have to get a warrant before they take your blood? And should they be drawing your blood at all? Is it too invasive, or do drunk drivers have it coming?


Photo credit Getty Images

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Certainly a controversial issue. My understanding is that you agree to a breathalyzer when you get your license. For the privilege of driving, you give your permission for a breathalyzer if you are suspected of drunk driving. I don't agree with it, but what option do I have. Mass transit sucks in Detroit, and I'm not walking the 40 miles to work. In my opinion, just simply drunk driving shouldn't be a crime. Injure someone, and you go to jail for 20 years. Kill someone = automatic life sentence. I believe drunk driving charges are basically charging someone for a crime they have not committed. Once we perfect gene sequencing, are we going to jail people b/c they have predisposition for murder? Where do you draw the line?