Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments on a case that could affect how DWI traffic stops are conducted in the United States. Tyler McNeely, a Missouri resident, was stopped for speeding in October 2010 and a suspected DWI. When McNeely refused a breathalyzer, the arresting officer took him to the hospital and ordered a blood test to be performed without a warrant. The blood test showed McNeely’s intoxication levels to be more than the legal limit of 0.08 and, as a result, McNeely was charged.
McNeely’s lawyers appealed his DWI case all the way to the Supreme Court arguing that the blood test should have been excluded as evidence from the DWI trial because the officer did not acquire a warrant as required by a previous Supreme Court case from 1996. However, in 2010 Missouri had changed its implied consent laws for drivers, making it so that officers can obtain blood tests and urine tests without a warrant.
Similar to Missouri, North Carolina DWI laws also conflict with the 1996 Supreme Court case. In North Carolina, it is up to the officer whether he or she may request blood, breathalyzer, or urine test. As a driver, if you refuse any of these tests, the officer can order the performance of any of these tests without a warrant. Furthermore, any driver’s refusal of a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test earns that driver an automatic drivers license suspension by the DMV for a year and one month whether you are guilty of a DWI or not.
If you are pulled over for a DUI or DWI, it doesn’t hurt to consult with an attorney who can help you preserve your rights under the law. The attorneys at Merritt Webb are here to help.