Washington state supreme court rules “police can force DUI suspects to submit to blood test”

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled that police officers may obtain search warrants to force motorists, who they suspect of drunk driving, to submit to a blood test reports The Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The case in front of the court was brought by a man, Robert St. John, who was forced to undergo a blood test after his Seattle motorcycle accident. The arresting officers obtained a search warrant to test St. John’s blood. A Seattle Municipal court ruled that the blood evidence could not be used against St. John and when a King County Superior Court overruled the lower court ruling, St. John appealed.

The court voted 7-2 in favor of the King County Superior Court ruling. Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Susan Owens wrote:

“The implied consent statute explicitly allows a police officer to obtain a blood alcohol test pursuant to a warrant even after a driver refuses a voluntary blood alcohol test.”

Some opponents of the ruling believe it is unreasonable search and seizure. Justice Richard Sanders wrote that the ruling goes against state law which allows a driver to refuse such tests.

“If we accept the majority’s reasoning, a driver’s refusal to consent … would be meaningless.”

I don’t think we have heard the last of this ruling just yet as many of the dissenters believe it tramples on the 5th Amendment, “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.’

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in car accidents caused by drunken drivers and the families of those killed.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.