Missouri DUI Case Goes To The U.S. Supreme Court

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a Missouri drunk driving case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case involves Tyler McNeely, a Cape Girardeau man who was suspected of driving while intoxicated in October, 2010, refused a breathalyzer test, and then had blood drawn against his will while in jail. McNeely’s blood alcohol content was 0.154, nearly twice the legal limit.

“It was a very significant invasion of personal privacy and personal dignity to have someone plunge a needle in your arm while you’re handcuffed and restrained,” ACLU Legal Director Steven Shapiro said.

The ACLU plans to challenge the case as an unreasonable search as defined by the Fourth Amendment, according to Shapiro. “The question is whether or not the police have the right to stick a needle in the arm of every person who is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.”

Shapiro adds that police do not need to draw blood to get drunk driving convictions. He says that’s been proven.

McNeely won the right to suppress blood-drawn evidence in his first trial but a Missouri Court of Appeals sided with the police and against McNeely. When the Missouri Supreme Court weighed in, it sided with the original ruling, in favor of McNeely.

Arguments will be heard Wednesday in the U.S. Supreme Court. You can read the ACLU brief here.

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