Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Missouri v. McNeeley-- Needles, Blood, and DUIs

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here on blood draws in DUI arrests.  Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States(SCOTUS) issued it's opinion in Missouri v. McNeeley.

Justice Sotomayer wrote the opinion:

We hold that in drunk-driving investigations, the natu­ral dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.

The judgment of the Missouri Supreme Court is affirmed. 

It is so ordered. 

In this case, McNeeley refused to consent to a blood draw.  Law enforcement had his blood drawn, against his will, at a hospital and the results were almost twice the legal limit.  McNeeley was successful in barring the blood results from being entered by the trial judge.  The government appealed and the State Supreme Court of Missouri agreed with the trial judge.  Then the government asked that the case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and SCOTUS agreed.

That said, this ruling does not mean that there won't ever be a blood draw without a warrant.  Instead, careful consideration to the facts of the case are to be considered prior to drawing blood without a warrant.  

But motorists’ diminished expectation of privacy does not diminish their privacy interest in preventing a government agent from piercing their skin. And though a blood test conducted in a medical setting by trained personnel is less intrusive than other bodily invasions, this Court has never retreated from its recognition that any compelled intrusion into the human body implicates significant, constitutionally protected privacy interests. Finally, the government’s general interest in combating drunk driving does not justify departing from the warrant requirement without showing exigent circumstances that make securing a warrant impractical in a particular case.

This case now puts the government on notice that the default will be to obtain a warrant prior to drawing blood and if that does not occur, the government better be prepared to defend why it was not able to obtain a warrant prior to the blood draw.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Police Lying About DUI Arrests

It is one simple question, why would the police lie about a DUI?

This Chicago DUI attorney hears this all the time when ever she is in a trial or pretrial motion from the government.  She thinks it's a really, really good question.  Unfortunately, her answer is unlikable. It is also simple. The answer is, because they can.

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about police officers not telling the truth in DUI arrests.

Now comes word of a federal indictment against a former police commander accused of lying about DUI arrest records.  Why did he do it you ask?  It was for the money.  The money was your tax paying dollars given to his department by the federal government.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Timothy Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, is alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally inflated” the number of DUI arrests made under a federally funded grant designed to curb drunk driving and seat belt violations, according to charges from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Federal authorities said the grant required submitting a form listing the number of DUI arrests made by police and the blood-alcohol content of the person arrested. Authorities said the department was then reimbursed for officer overtime pay, mileage and equipment.

From 2009 to 2012, Veit allegedly falsely inflated DUI arrest numbers by 122, and provided fake blood-alcohol content levels for those “fictitious” arrests, authorities said.

Authorities claim that Veit’s false reports meant the police department “fraudulently obtained” $132,893 in federal grant money from Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What do you think about police officers receiving overtime pay for DUI arrests?