In June, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of People v. Schaufele relating to whether police needed a warrant to perform an involuntary blood draw to test for alcohol. The Colorado Supreme Court followed the ruling of the US Supreme Court in the case of Missouri v. McNeely wherein the Supreme Court stated that a court must look at the “totality of the circumstances” when determining whether the police need a warrant or not to perform a blood draw. Under the 4th Amendment, police are required to get a warrant before performing a search of a person, especially when there is a high level of privacy involved with the area to be searched. An exception to this rule is when there are exigent circumstances which most often occurs when evidence of a crime is in danger of disappearing.
In McNeely, the Supreme Court decided that a court must look at the entire situation to decide whether a blood draw is immediately necessary, or whether the police had time to get a warrant. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented to the opinion stating that he thinks that since the body is constantly dissolving alcohol, evidence is continuously disappearing. He concludes that warrantless blood draws are therefore always constitutional.
In the Colorado case of Schaufele, the trial court found that the police had considerable time to obtain a warrant, so the evidence of the warrantless blood draw was not allowed to be admitted in his trial. The Colorado Attorney General appealed and argued that the Colorado Supreme Court should ignore the majority opinion of McNeely and instead apply Justice Roberts’ dissenting opinion instead. The Colorado Supreme Court rejected the Attorney General’s argument and applied the majority decision, as it should have. In response, the Colorado Attorney General filed an appeal of the decision to have the US Supreme Court rethink its past decision in McNeely. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case and overturns its past decision, there would be drastic consequences for DUI defense cases in the United States.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to consult an attorney who keeps up with the ever-changing laws, both in Colorado and the rest of the country. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates will continuously fight to protect their clients’ constitutional rights throughout the entire criminal process. Call us for a free consultation today at (720)863-7755.