The attorneys general from more than 12 states have asked the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) to review a controversial Colorado DUI case. Some of specific issues central to the case include:
- When police should and should not have the legal authority to take blood samples from unconscious DUI suspects without having warrants to do so
- Whether there should be exceptions to DUI suspects’ Fourth Amendment rights.
Facts of the Colorado DUI Case: Here’s What Happened
To understand the nature of the controversy and issues at play in this Colorado DUI case, it’s first important to know the facts of the case. These are as follows:
Jack Schaufele, the defendant, caused a head-on collision in a busy intersection in May 2012.
- He and another injured person were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, at which time an officer at the hospital noted smelling alcohol on Schaufele.
- Schaufele fell asleep at the hospital before the officer obtained Schaufele’s consent to take his blood and analyze its alcohol content.
- Without obtaining a warrant – and without Schaufele’s consent, the officer proceeded with taking the blood sample, which ended up showing that Schaufele’s BAC was about triple the legal limit (i.e., about 0.24).
- However, the first judge to oversee this case threw out the blood/BAC evidence, ruling that it was taken in violation of Schaufele’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Complicating this controversial Colorado DUI case is a prior SCOTUS opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. In this opinion, Roberts explained that, there should be exceptions for police having to obtain warrants or a suspect’s consent in order to draw blood. In particular, Roberts has written:
The officer is unlikely to know precisely when the suspect consumed alcohol or how much; all he knows is that critical evidence is being steadily lost… fire can spread gradually, but that does not lessen the need and right of the officers to respond immediately.
Now, prosecutors throughout the nation are asking SCOTUS to clarify the legalities and protocols here so that law enforcement officials (and other legal professionals) can have a better idea of when taking blood from unconscious DUI suspects without a warrant is or is not illegal. If SCOTUS picks up this case and issues a ruling on it, we will report it to you here. Stay posted.
Broomfield and Boulder DUI Defense Attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
Have you or a loved one been charged with DUI? If so, the Broomfield and Boulder DUI defense attorneys at the Peter Loyd Weber & Associates are ready to immediately start defending you. Our primary concern is protecting your constitutional rights throughout the criminal process while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
To talk about your defense and how we can help you, call us today at (720) 863-7755 or email us using the contact form on this page. We offer complimentary consultations, and we take pride in always being available to our clients – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – so that they have the personal attention their case deserves.
From our offices based in Northglenn, Broomfield and Boulder, we provide the strongest defense and highest quality legal services to our clients throughout Weld County, Adams County and the state of Colorado.