The Rights Of A Defendant In A Dui Case
People ordinarily do not recognize the massive impact that any rulings made by the United States Supreme Court can have on their daily life. The Supreme Court on June 23, 2016 made a decision in the case Birchfield v. North Dakota that altered the procedure employed by law enforcement to obtain a blood draw from people suspected of committing a DUI or a similar offense. The key phrase to note in the sentence above is that it changed how law enforcement is supposed to handle drawing blood. However, a news story published last year in the Washington post illustrates that some people may be more prone to resisting the implementation of the new procedures for drawing blood than others. In the state of Utah, the head nurse at the burn unit of University of Utah Hospital’s was arrested for preventing Salt Lake City police officers from forcibly obtaining a blood sample from an unconscious patient.
Under the United States Supreme Court decision in the Birchfield v. North Dakota case, an officer may obtain a blood sample if the officer has either the consent of the suspect or if the officer has obtained a search warrant authorizing the taking of a person’s blood. In the Utah case, the officer did not have a search warrant and the unconscious subject was incapable of consenting to a blood draw. The nurse informed the officer that under the circumstances, the officer was not permitted to force a blood draw from an unconscious patient. The patient wasn’t even a suspect in any crime, he was a victim of a car crash in which the other car was supposedly being driven by someone who was under the influence. The other person had not survived the ensuing crash. Although the nurse had calmly and respectfully explained that she couldn’t permit the officer to obtain the blood and this decision was vetted over the telephone by her supervisor, the officer adopted a belligerent attitude in the face of this denial.
He resorted to shoving and grabbing the nurse, handcuffing her and forcing her into an unmarked vehicle. He alleged that the nurse had interfered with his investigation. The officer’s body camera recorded the entire altercation and it showed that the nurse was legally correct in her standpoint where she prevented the officer from forcibly obtaining a blood sample from an unconscious patient. After the incident, the Chief of police and the Mayor of Salt Lake City have extended personal apologies to the nurse and the police officer in question has been placed on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation into the officer’s misconduct. The nurse who is a former Olympian athlete had enough will and resolve to challenge the rogue officer and prevent him from violating an unconscious patient’s constitutional rights. All of us should unite and stand up for our constitutional rights that prevent law enforcement from carrying out unreasonable searches and seizures.
It is high time that people recognize and stand up for their constitutional rights because if they don’t, the draconian measures often employed by law enforcement will result in the creation of a police state. If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of a DUI offense in California, you should act wisely and retain the services of a competent and experienced DUI attorney like Michael Philips to protect your rights and safeguard your future.