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Warrantless Blood Draws in Michigan DUI Cases

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Defense Blood Testing

If you are arrested for intoxicated driving due to alcohol or drugs in Michigan, and your blood is drawn, this usually means either that you consented to have your blood drawn, or the police obtained a search warrant for blood.

Provided the police had probable cause to arrest you for DUI in Michigan, the implied consent law will apply.  The theory is that when you accepted your driver’s license you gave you consent to have your breath or blood searched.  Since no one ever actually asked you this question, your consent is implied.  This is important because consent is one way to get around the search warrant requirement.

So, even though you consent is implied, you still have a right to withdraw your consent.  This means that the police must tell you what will happen if you refuse to give your breath or blood after being arrested for a Michigan DUI.  Then, after they tell you this, ask you if you consent.  At this point your implied consent becomes actual consent.

But what if you are arrested for DUI in Michigan and refuse to give your breath or blood?  Does your implied consent give the police the right to search your blood without a warrant?

A case that looked at this question is People v. Armer[i], In this case the defendant was involved in a single car accident. Because there were injuries, the defendant was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Of the two officers at the scene, one of the officers followed the ambulance to the hospital while the other remained at the accident. There was a third officer who also met the defendant at the hospital.

The defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of a blood test arguing that his blood was drawn without consent a warrant or exigent circumstances. An evidentiary hearing established that although there was some delay securing the accident scene and transporting the defendant to the hospital, any one of the three officers involved with the investigation could have obtained the warrant, and there was no testimony establishing any circumstances which would have prevented one of the officers from attempting to secure a warrant.

There was also no evidence that attempting to obtain a warrant would have led to unreasonable delay. Additionally, there was no testimony that the officers believed they were faced with an emergency where the time delay in obtaining a warrant would threaten the loss of crucial evidence. In fact, one officer testified that he did not believe he needed a warrant in this case because he had probable cause and because of the implied consent law. The court found that “the record does not support the State’s position that an arresting officer might have reasonably believed that he was faced with an exigency that would justify the warrantless blood draw. Upon considering the totality of the circumstances in this record, we conclude that the warrantless blood draw violated the defendant’s fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.”

If you are arrested for intoxicated driving, DUI or OWI in Michigan, contact the Barone Defense Firm for your FREE no obligation consultation.  We will look at the search of your breath or blood and tell you whether or everything was done lawfully.  If it wasn’t, and your retain our office, then we will file a motion on your behalf  to get the breath or blood test thrown out.  Contact the Barone Defense Firm today.

[i] — N.E.3d —-, 2014 IL App (5th) 130342, 2014 WL 5449750 (Ill.App. 5 Dist.)