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Questions arise in DUI blood draws

Nebraska residents know that an arrest for suspected driving under the influence can lead to serious penalties for people who are ultimately convicted of these types of charges. However, it is also important to be aware of some of the changes to the laws regarding the investigation process for drunk driving.

In the past, law enforcement officers could charge drivers who were believed to possibly be intoxicated with additional crimes if they did not voluntarily provide blood samples. Last year, however, the United States Supreme Court stopped all of that with a ruling that said warrants were required before blood samples could be obtained. The lack of a warrant was determined to be unconstitutional and a violation of the person's rights.

While this legal change is relatively clear for any case that begins after the Supreme Court ruling, how it may impact those that were already in process is still unclear. One Nebraska man, for example, was arrested and charged with drunk driving in 2015. He did not agree to have his blood drawn until the officer mentioned he could be criminally charged for not doing so. The evidence obtained from the blood draw was used against him in his prosecution. Literally the day after he was convicted, the Supreme Court ruling was issued raising a new question about the validity of the conviction.

Defendants in tricky situations like this may find talking to an attorney helpful in understanding their options for a defense or appeal of a criminal case. 

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Nebraska Supreme Court decision on blood draw in DUI arrest could impact other cases," Lori Pilger, September 2, 2017

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