Blood Taken During DUI Stop Without Warrant or Suspect's Consent Can't be Used in Court, Arizona Supreme Court Rules

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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled this morning that, to collect blood from a person suspected of DUI, police must get specific consent from the suspect or get a search warrant.

In other words, if you get stopped driving drunk and cops take your blood without permission, it can't be used against you in court. However, if you spend a half-hour throwing up in a police van before you provide the blood -- as was the case of the man for whom the case was brought -- you may be in some trouble

Arizona has an "implied consent" law, which says drivers must provide a sample of blood, breath or urine for testing if they get stopped for a DUI, but the unanimous court decision says police still need a warrant if they want your blood.

"Implied consent" means that when you get an Arizona driver's license, you agree to let police have access to certain bodily fluids should they suspect you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving.

Suspects have the option to refuse, but if they do, their driver's licenses will be suspended -- that section of the law remains unchanged.

The decision stems from the 2006 arrest of Jose Carrillo, arrested for DUI and several other offenses in Phoenix.

After his arrest, Carrillo was taken to a police van where -- after he vomited for what court documents claim was 30 minutes -- officers took his blood.

Carrillo, however, claims he couldn't speak a lick of English and despite the arresting officer's claim that Carrillo held out his arm when asked if the cops could take his blood, he claimed he never gave consent.

Carrillo was convicted of DUI in Phoenix Municipal Court, but the case made it all the way to the state's high court after a series of unsatisfactory rulings in the Superior and Appeals courts.

Moral of the story: If you're dumb enough to drive drunk and get caught, keep those veins shut until a judge tells you otherwise.


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