Search Warrants and the Blood Test | DUI Attorney | Greensboro NC

Search Warrants and the Blood Test

In North Carolina, you are most commonly convicted for DWI based upon a test of your breath. However, the state will collect evidence from you in other ways if you refuse or are physically unable to submit to a test of your breath, or if the officer has probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of drugs. One such way is through an analysis of your blood. Most commonly a blood draw will be used to determine your Blood Alcohol Content when you have been involved in an accident and you are either incapacitated or are in the hospital. However, an officer may be able to obtain a sample of your blood even if you are able to submit to a test of the breath and simply refuse to do so. This is offensive to most people’s sense of privacy and there are indeed 4th Amendment Constitutional issues surrounding the collection of blood for evidence in Driving While Impaired cases. Officers are allowed to obtain your blood without a search warrant in many cases due to the exigency of the circumstances, which is that the longer you refuse to submit to testing the more time your body has had to metabolize the alcohol in your system. This is an acceptable argument when you have been hospitalized and the situation requires an analysis of your blood in order to properly treat you; however, issues arise surrounding a warrantless blood draw when the only exigency that is perceived to exist is the dissipation of the alcohol or drugs in your blood stream. Due to the ease of obtaining a search warrant and the close proximity to a magistrates office, it may violate the 4th Amendment for an officer to have your blood drawn without first obtaining a warrant. This is especially true since the state has access to retrograde extrapolation experts who can testify as to whether you were in a pre-absorption or post-absorption phase and precisely what your Blood Alcohol Content would have been in the recent past based upon a later in time reading.