The simple answer is “No.” If you do not provide consent, in order for police to take a blood test to determine an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level, they must first obtain a warrant.
Missouri v. McNeely
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Missouri v. McNeely that reinforces the rights of people stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The court ruled that law enforcement officers should have obtained a warrant before having blood forcibly drawn from a man suspected of a DUI after he refused to provide his consent to a chemical test.
The case began when a man named Tyler McNeely was stopped by police for speeding, According to the court documents, police stated the driver smelled of alcohol and exhibited “signs of intoxication,” such as bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. After he initially refused to take a breath test, officers took McNeely to a hospital to have his blood drawn. However, McNeely refused that test as well. Despite his refusal, law enforcement officers proceeded to take a blood sample, which revealed that his BAC was well over the legal limit.
Warrantless Blood Draw Violates Fourth Amendment Right
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution offers protection against unreasonable search and seizure, meaning police are required to obtain a warrant prior to conducting a search or seizure of an individual’s body or property. Alas, there are a variety of scenarios in which warrantless searches are considered “reasonable”—such as having probable cause or seeing contraband “in plain view”—and, therefore, constitutionally allowable.
In Missouri v. McNeely, the Supreme Court determined that the warrantless extraction of McNeely’s blood without his consent was unreasonable under the circumstances. Since there were no emergency circumstances sufficient to justify the warrantless blood draw, McNeely’s constitutional rights were violated.
New York DWI Law
The state of New York, as well as most other states, has what is considered an “implied consent law” which applies to motorists who are stopped for suspected DWI. The law provides that all New York State drivers provide their implied consent to undergo a breath or blood test if they are lawfully arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
Drivers who refuse a chemical test can face fines and automatic driver’s license suspension. Additionally, an individual who refuses a BAC test in New York may still be convicted of DWI.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI in New York, our Nassau County criminal defense lawyer at Foley Griffin, LLP is ready to protect your rights and future. Contact us and schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options today.