St. Louis to become a DUI “No Refusal Zone”

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - If an officer suspects you are driving in St. Louis City under the influence of alcohol, you can refuse a breath test.  But, you might face a blood test whether you consent or not.

City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Police Chief Sam Dotson and Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson planned a press conference Monday afternoon to announce a “No Refusal Zone” across St. Louis.

This issue has already been through the U.S. Supreme Court.

Missouri law says you can refuse to give a breath test, if police pull you over and suspect that you are driving drunk. But, the law does not protect you from certain consequences. Neither does a recent ruling by the nation’s highest court.

In Cape Girardeau County, an officer arrested Tyler McNeely in October 2010 for suspicion of DUI.  McNeely refused to take a breath test. An officer took McNeely to the hospital and had his blood drawn, without a warrant.

Eight of the nine Supreme Court justices said that action violated the suspect’s fourth amendment protection from unnecessary search and seizure. Justice Sonya Sotomayor stated that police must first seek a search warrant for that blood. It looks like city officials plan to do that, each and every time a suspect refuses a breath test.

We also heard from Wentzville, Mo. Judge Mike Carter.  He was found not guilty of DWI.  In a written statement, he applauded the city’s efforts to catch drunk drivers.  But, he called seeking a warrant for a blood test for each and every refusal “disturbing”.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1425_cb8e.pdf

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