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Can the Police Take My Blood Without a Warrant in a Suspected DUI Case?


If you have ever been pulled over by a police officer under the suspicion of a DUI, you are likely aware of how stressful this situation can be. In fact, you might even be a little scared, even if you have done nothing wrong. However, it is important to remain calm and polite in this situation, and to fully understand what your rights are to ensure they are not violated. While, historically, it has been acceptable for courts to allow a blood test for cases involving a suspected DUI, in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court held that laws that make it illegal to refuse this test are unconstitutional. For a blood test to be considered legal and valid, a suspect must either consent to it or law enforcement must obtain a warrant.

DUIs and Implied Consent Laws

Although blood tests in such cases are only legal in cases where a suspect consented or a warrant was obtained, this does not mean that a breath test has the same requirements. In fact, implied consent laws exist in all 50 states in the country. These laws impose penalties on drivers who refuse to submit to this type of chemical testing in cases where there is reason to believe they were driving while intoxicated.

If an individual refuses to submit to a breath test, there are penalties for not cooperating, including the loss of your driving privileges. In the case ends up going to trial, the prosecution will present this fact as evidence, arguing that you knew you were above the legal limit, which was why you refused to take the breath test.

Why is there a difference between a breath sample and a blood sample? The Supreme Court reasoned that breath tests are not a significant privacy intrusion since it is not an invasion of the body. Blood tests, on the other hand, involve piercing of the skin and the sample itself has the potential to reveal much more about a person than a breath sample. As such, drawing blood is considered an infringement of one’s privacy.

Laws Regarding Blood and Breath Tests

It is critical to be familiar with your rights. Below is what you need to know about the law regarding blood and breath tests involving a suspected DUI:

  • Officers do not need a warrant to take a breath sample.
  • It is legal to make refusing a breath test a crime and imposing criminal penalties does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Officers must have a warrant to take a blood sample. In circumstances when a blood test is the only viable option, such as in cases when the driver appears to be under the influence of drugs, the officer might not have to get a warrant if there is not enough time to do so.

Experienced DUI Criminal Defense Attorney in Illinois

Whether this is your first DUI offense or a second or third, getting arrested for drunk driving is a frightening experience. It is only natural that you would feel nervous and intimidated, but it is important to take the necessary steps to safeguard your future at this time. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our Chicago DUI criminal defense team has more than 20 years of experience fighting for clients’ rights. We would be honored to do the same for you. Make the decision to work with a fierce legal advocate today and reach out to our law firm.

Call us today at (312) 436-0638 to schedule a case review with an experienced member of our legal team. We will give you the advantage you need in the courtroom.