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Do police need a warrant to draw blood for a DUI?

According to a recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court, police do not always require a warrant before obtaining a blood sample from a person who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Recently, there was a 5 – 2 decision in the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding a case of a woman charged in a fatal crash about suppressing the results of a blood test. This reversed a lower court's decision from 2011.

In July 2011, the 28-year-old woman was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, vehicular assault and vehicular homicide, as a result of her part in an accident that killed one person and injured others.

The legal team for the woman said the following:

"My position has always been that you need a warrant to take blood unless there are exigent circumstances. It was clear that they (police) had plenty of time to get a search warrant. They just chose not to because they didn't think they needed to."

The court believes that there are times when it is not practical for police to obtain a warrant before taking a blood sample, such as if they need to act fast in order to preserve evidence.

As a resident of the state of New Jersey, it's important to understand the laws associated with driving under the influence of alcohol. Even if you never have any intentions of drinking and driving, you don't know what situation you'll find yourself in. Knowing your legal rights can help you better protect yourself down the road, such as if police want to take a blood sample at the scene of an arrest.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "Cops don't always need warrants to get blood in DUIs, NJ high court says," Kathleen Hopkins, March 27, 2018

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