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Mo. court rejects warrantless DWI blood test

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 6:27 p.m. CST

KANSAS CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has thrown out the results of a blood test on an unwilling suspect in a routine drunken-driving stop, ruling the officer should have obtained a judge's warrant for the test.

In a 2010 case from Cape Girardeau County, the court ruled Tuesday the warrantless test on the unwilling driver amounted to an unconstitutional search. The court said the simple fact that alcohol in blood dissipates over time doesn't justify the failure to get a warrant.

The Supreme Court said there must be special circumstances to order a warrantless blood test — such as the officer's involvement in a lengthy accident-scene investigation.

A defense lawyer in Tuesday's case said getting a warrant in Cape Girardeau County typically takes 40 to 90 minutes, even in the middle of the night.

 


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