The 1st District Illinois Appellate Court recently handed law enforcement officials a defeat. The court ruled in a 2 to 1 decision that a portion of the state’s drunk driving law is unconstitutional. The appeals court said that police officers investigating DUI cases must obtain a warrant before drawing blood or obtaining urine samples from drivers suspected of being impaired.
The court reversed the first-degree murder conviction of a man who had been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in a 2009 fatal crash. He had refused to give investigating police officers permission to draw his blood or take urine samples.
At the time, state law allowed officers to take samples without a suspect’s permission and without a warrant if law enforcement officials had probable cause to believe the driver was impaired — and had been in an accident that resulted in injury or death.
A Springfield criminal defense attorney said that in the aftermath of the court’s decision, cases would have to be reviewed individually, rather than law enforcement assuming that it has blanket permission to obtain samples without consent.
“They have to look at all the facts that are involved. They cannot just decide at the scene and say, ‘Well, you were involved in this accident. You are going to the hospital and we are going to take your blood.’”
According to a news report, the man who was convicted will now get a new trial.
For those facing drunk driving or drugged driving charges, an attorney experienced in DUI defense can help protect your rights, freedom and driving privileges.