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Suspected drunk drivers tested without warrant or consent

One constitutional right that has been getting national attention as of late is the Fourth Amendment. In many situations, it protects citizens from warrantless searches. What that means exactly has come under debate, with some believing it does not prohibit testing those suspected of driving while intoxicated without a warrant or their consent. This testing can come in the form of a breath test or even a blood draw.

In Wisconsin, this very thing is currently being challenged in the state's Supreme Court. At issue is the legality of officers drawing the blood of suspects without having a warrant or even the consent of the suspect -- something Louisiana residents may be interested in. This has been allowed under Wisconsin law since 1993 but now faces a challenge. The Supreme Court of the United States has previously ruled on a case in Missouri that could help get Wisconsin's law struck down. Of note is the fact that in 2011 and 2012 combined, approximately 5,000 people refused to comply with such testing in Wisconsin.

Though states have laws that vary, and this challenge is taking place in Wisconsin, it may set the tone for other states that may consider challenging similar laws, including Louisiana. While drivers can refuse to comply with field sobriety tests, some states, like Louisiana, have implied consent laws, which mean that by virtue of having a driver's license a person has given consent to be tested if arrested. Refusal to cooperate can result in penalties for the driver.

If you are in Louisiana and are facing such circumstances or charges of drunk driving, you do have options. By working with a criminal defense attorney, you can help ensure your rights are protected as you fight the charges filed against you.

Source: WKBT-TV, “Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers,” April 19, 2014

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