Do Oklahoma Police Need a Warrant to Conduct a BAC Test?
If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Oklahoma, one of the key pieces of evidence the prosecution will likely try to use against you is the result of the blood alcohol content or BAC test. This test is usually given as a breathalyzer, but police also have the option of administering a blood or even a urine test, though urine tests are rarely used.
Many of our clients ask, “Do the police need a warrant in order to lawfully give me a BAC test?” The answer is, it depends.
Breath vs. Blood Alcohol Testing
In 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that law enforcement in all 50 states must obtain a search warrant before requiring a blood test in connection with a DUI arrest. However, the Supreme Court also ruled that a search warrant is not required to administer a breath test, because the Justices deemed it a “less intrusive” test.
What About Implied Consent?
The Supreme Court’s decision to require search warrants for blood tests really has no impact on our state’s implied consent law, which says that licensed Oklahoma drivers have given their consent to comply with a BAC test if they are lawfully arrested for suspicion of DUI.
Even under implied consent, you still have the right to refuse a chemical BAC test—whether breathalyzer, blood or urine. However, doing so can result in penalties, and the prosecution may try to use the fact that you refused the test against you at trial.
Defending a Warrantless Blood Test
If the police requested that you take a BAC blood test but failed to get a signed search warrant from a judge, we may be able to have the result thrown out under the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling—even if you consented to the test.
It is also worth noting that police must obtain the warrant and perform the test within two hours of your arrest; failure to do so can render the test result invalid in a court of law.
However, Oklahoma has a statute that requires mandatory blood draws when there has been an accident resulting in a death or serious bodily injury and alcohol or drugs use is suspected. This statute is in conflict with the United States Supreme Court opinions. The current Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld this statute and the issue of whether blood can be withdrawn without consent or a warrant in accident cases is currently before the US Supreme Court. The Hunsucker Legal Group is responsible for taking the case to the United States Supreme Court.
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