While there are certain circumstances that permit an officer to forcibly take a blood or urine sample from a potential DUI offender, this can only be done under certain conditions.
When someone causes a drunk driving accident, the officer handling the case can generally obtain a blood or urine sample to test the blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels present if:
- They obtain a warrant from a judge that permits them to do so.
- The suspect provides their consent for their blood or urine sample to be taken.
- If the circumstances don’t permit an officer to obtain a warrant in a timely fashion then can they can take a blood or urine sample forcibly.
But, in a recent court ruling, we are learning that even when an officer feels exigent circumstances may have existed, in most cases, a warrant must be obtained if consent is not given. According to the Chicago Tribune, the verdict of a fatal drunk driving accident case has been overturned by a judge that ruled the manner in which the blood and urine tests were collected to determine the driver’s BAC level was forced and unconstitutional.
The case goes all the way back to 2009 when Ralph Eubanks was driving while under the influence of cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis before hitting Maria Worthon, 48, who was walking and holding her 6-year-old son’s hand. Worthon was thrown nearly half a block where she died on impact and her son suffered serious injuries as a result of the drunk driving accident. But, when Eubanks was taken to the hospital, he refused to give his consent to blood and urine testing and the officers handling the matter never obtained a warrant to retrieve the samples.
Instead, they “told him he was compelled by law” to provide the samples. Eubanks was restrained and handcuffed to a hospital bed and had his blood drawn. He only gave in to the urine testing when he was approached by a nurse holding a catheter. Although Eubanks was convicted of murder, his conviction was overturned and the blood and urine samples will not be used for his re-trial. “The appeals court also ruled that the trial court erred in not allowing jurors to be informed that they could find Eubanks guilty of reckless homicide rather than first-degree murder.”
The truth is, “the legality of obtaining blood and urine for testing without consent and a warrant has been at the crux of several court cases on state and federal levels.” Because each case is handled on an individual basis, there are times that permit for forced DUI testing and other times where it is considered to be unconstitutional. This case clearly shows the officers may have overstepped some boundaries.
Now, if you or someone you know caused a drunk driving accident in the city of Chicago and are now facing serious charges, consider contacting a local drunk driving accident lawyer now. By choosing to hire a Chicago drunk driving accident attorney, you increase your chances of having a fair trial and ensuring your rights are upheld. USAttorneys.com can connect you with a local lawyer now should you need help finding one.