Tennessee Court Holds Dui Blood Draws Without A Warrant Illegal

The Court of Criminal Appeals recently reaffirmed an earlier decision, finding that when a DUI suspect refuses to give consent to have his blood tested, that the police must get a search warrant prior to a forced blood draw.

Previously, a state law requiring “mandatory” blood draws, for suspects with a prior offense of who were involved in an accident with injury, had been interpreted to allow police to take the suspect’s blood over his objection, without a warrant.

The Tennessee Court cited the United State Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely, for the proposition that alcohol leaving the blood stream due to the passage of time is not enough, by itself, to equal “exigent circumstances.”  Without exigent circumstances, or some other established exception (like consent), police must get a search warrant in order to legally take a DUI suspect’s blood.

Read the full opinion here.

Congratulations to fellow Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers member Claiborne Ferguson, of Memphis, on prevailing in both the trial and appellate courts.