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Controversy over blood draws in DUI cases continues

Despite a United States Supreme Court ruling, disputes over the introduction of blood evidence in DUI cases continue. One appellate court recently held a trial judge erred in suppression of blood evidence. The appellate court case involved a driver charged in a February 2012 accident involving the death of another person. Charges against the driver included aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.

The charged driver was unresponsive immediately following the accident. Nevertheless, while the driver was unconscious and receiving emergency medical treatment, a blood draw from the driver took place. The trooper claims to have been acting under the provisions of a state statute passed in 2008 allowing the conducting of warrantless searches when the accident resulted in serious injury or death (constituting a traffic violation).

In Illinois vs. Krull, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled allowance of blood drawn evidence is permissible when police officers complied with existing law, even if eventually there's a ruling that the law is unconstitutional. However, admissibility is not allowable if the law in question passed when "the legislature wholly abandoned its responsibility to enact constitutional laws."

While the appellate court decided to overrule the trial court's decision regarding suppression of the blood evidence, one justice provided an extremely strong dissent. This dissenting justice wrote: "State legislatures may not override decisions of the United States Supreme Court construing federal constitutional rights by passing statutes designed to thwart those decisions and dilute those rights. That is a fundamental precept of our system of governance integrating the dual sovereignty of state and federal authorities."

Law enforcement officers and legislators are obligated to respect the rights of everyone.

Skilled DUI defense attorneys fight for your rights when unlawful arrests occur or there's an introduction of illegally obtained evidence.

Source: cjonline.com, "Appeals court says DUI blood draw search was legal in 2012 case," Rick Dean, March 27, 2015

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