Drunk driving charges are very serious and can harm a person's future in many different ways. Most drunk driving convictions are based on evidence obtained at the arrest, like a breath or blood sample. This evidence can be difficult to dispute if the test shows that a driver was over the legal blood-alcohol-content limit. However, it may be more difficult for police officers to obtain a blood sample during a drunk driving arrest after a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court justices recently ruled that police officers must try to get a search warrant before they can order a blood-sample test on suspected drunk drivers. This ruling could have a significant impact on future drunk driving cases throughout the country as most police officers do not currently obtain a search warrant before testing a suspect's blood.

The Supreme Court issued the ruling after hearing a case from Missouri. A man appealed to the Supreme Court after he was forced to have his blood tested without a warrant. The test showed that the man was over the legal limit and he was convicted of drunk driving. 

In appealing the case, the defense argued that the police violated the man's Fourth Amendment rights because he was subjected to an unlawful search when they took a blood sample with a warrant signed by a judge. The state of Missouri disputed that argument, saying that they did not need a warrant to test a driver's BAC through a blood test because of the state's implied consent laws.

Despite the state's arguments, the Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of the man, saying that in most cases, police need to have a search warrant before taking a blood sample from a drunk driving suspect.

It is unknown how big of an impact this ruling will have on drunk driving cases in Colorado, but many civil liberty supporters feel that the ruling could change how law enforcement obtain evidence in drunk driving cases.

Source: KOAA, "Court rejects routine no-warrant DUI blood tests," Patricia Collier, April 17, 2013