Due to relatively recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court, the police have to obtain a warrant to compel a DUI defendant to submit to a blood test. Nonetheless, law enforcement agents will sometimes try to circumvent the warrant requirement with a compulsory blood draw. While the results of such tests are generally inadmissible, it is not always clear whether they can be introduced at trial if the forced draw occurred after the police obtained a warrant. Recently, a Colorado court addressed this issue, ultimately ruling that the Colorado law requiring express consent to obtain a blood test from a DUI defendant only applied in cases without a warrant, but it is unclear how Illinois and other states will handle such issues. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is in your best interest to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.
The Colorado Case
It is reported that a police officer responded to a report that a car was illegally parked in a handicapped parking spot. When the officer approached the car, he found the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. The officer spoke with the defendant, who exhibited visible signs of intoxication and smelled like alcohol but denied drinking. The officer asked the defendant to submit to field sobriety tests, but he declined.
Allegedly, the officer arrested the defendant for DUI and, pursuant to Colorado’s expressed consent law, asked him to submit to a blood or breath test. The defendant refused, and after learning the defendant had multiple DUI convictions, the officer sought and obtained a warrant to conduct a blood draw. The defendant still refused to cooperate, and his blood was forcefully drawn. The results of the test showed his BAC was well over the legal limit. The defendant was charged with felony DUI but moved to suppress the results of his test. The court denied his motion, and after he was convicted, he appealed. The court of appeals ruled in his favor, but the state supreme court reversed, finding that the expressed consent law barring forced blood draws did not apply when the draw was conducted pursuant to a warrant.
Blood Draws in Illinois DUI Cases
Unlike Colorado, Illinois has an implied consent statute rather than an expressed consent law. Pursuant to the implied consent law, all Illinois motorists are presumed to consent to submit to breath tests. Blood tests require warrants, however, and any evidence obtained absent such a warrant will likely be inadmissible. Many Illinois counties have processes in place that allow police officers to obtain expedited warrants in DUI cases. If a defendant fails to comply with a search warrant, they may face criminal and civil penalties.
Confer with a Seasoned Illinois DUI Attorney
Illinois DUI suspects cannot be compelled to submit to blood tests absent a warrant, and if their blood is forcefully drawn, the results of the test may be deemed inadmissible. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to confer with a lawyer about your options for seeking a favorable outcome. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a seasoned Illinois DUI attorney with the skills and experience needed to help you fight to protect your interests, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. Mr. Harvatin can be contacted at 217.525.0520 or via our online form to set up a conference.