American Judges Association
Warrantless Blood Draws and the Fourth Amendment: A Chronological Look at U.S. Supreme Court and State Supreme Court Cases from Missouri v. McNeely to Commonwealth v. Bell
Date of this Version
Court Review - Volume 57
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in the United States 30 people die every day in drunk-driving crashes.1 Crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers cost the United States $44 billion in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data are available).2 The issue of impaired driving is not limited to alcohol; the NHTSA’s data show the number of drivers killed in crashes who test positive for marijuana doubling between 2007 and 2015.3 As states create laws to try and crackdown on the rates of impaired driving those finding themselves facing criminal prosecution have raised constitutional challenges. Warrantless blood draws have received a fair amount of attention in the top courts both federally and in states across the country. This paper provides an overview of the facts and holdings of these top court cases starting with Missouri v. McNeely, a U.S. Supreme Court case, the case which spurred the recent rash of warrantless blood draw cases, and concluding with Commonwealth v. Bell, the most recent case on the topic at the time of this paper, out of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Used by permission.