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Wisconsin Supreme Court to consider blood testing policy


As it currently stands, Wisconsin law allows police officers to take blood from people suspected of drunk driving without first obtaining the suspect's permission or a search warrant from a judge. That is not how all other states handle such matters. A 2013 decision from the United States Supreme Court may change how Wisconsin law enforcement officials address this type of situation.

The nation's high court evaluated a Missouri case and determined that officers do not have the power to take blood tests in every suspected drunk driving incident. As a result, Wisconsin officials have had to look at their own policies and determine if change is warranted.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is now looking at three instances of suspected drunk driving to determine when warrantless tests for blood alcohol content are permissible and when they are not. If the court decides that such testing is not permissible in every situation that may mean that Wisconsin drivers have better support of their right to privacy than they did before.

Opponents to putting limits on warrantless blood testing have claimed that if officers have to wait for legal permission to take blood there is a chance the suspect's BAC will normalize before the blood is drawn. This would mean that people could avoid drunk driving charges just because officers had to wait to prove the drivers' intoxication.

Wisconsin drivers will have to wait and see what happens as the state's Supreme Court evaluates this matter. Though some people may avoid drunk driving charges if changes are implemented, it is significant that the state may take steps toward improving its protection of its citizens' rights.

Source: fdlreporter.com, "Wis. court to decide on testing drunk drivers," April 21, 2014

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