Supreme Court to decide on drunk driving blood tests - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Supreme Court to decide on drunk driving blood tests

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Waynesboro, GA (WFXG) - After refusing to take a breathalyzer test, at a Burke County DUI check, this man is headed to the "big house." He's one of several suspected drunk drivers who refuse blow into machines like these. If they don't take the test, they're arrested anyway and ordered to take a blood test. But pretty soon that process could change.

This week the United States Supreme Court announced they'll decide whether or not police must get a warrant before administering a blood test on a suspected drunk driver.

 And that change would impact people right here in our area. And despite some extra work, that's something local officers say they're prepared to handle. 

"Well, that would probably hinder our process a little bit, but if that's what we have to do to save lives then we would have to do that," said Lieutenant David Hannah of the Waynesboro Police Department.

The debate comes from a 2010 case in Missouri. According to the Christian Science Monitor, a Missouri man refused a breath test and a voluntary blood test. The officer demanded a clinic staff member to conduct the test anyway. The driver's blood alcohol level ended up being way above the legal limit, but the Missouri Supreme Court ruled the officer should have had a warrant. Other courts disagreed, so now the Supreme Court will hear the case.

"Even in the situation where you have an injury, I think that it would be important for a person," said Melissa Detchemendy, an attorney in Augusta. "I mean if you take somebody's blood, I think a warrant should be something that is required."

This case only deals with the blood exam, now officers will not have to obtain a warrant to administer other tests like the breathalyzer.

"It is really an effective tool for us to do our jobs properly and determine if they are under the influence of alcohol," Lieutenant Hannah said.

In a previously recorded interview, we spoke with someone who says he remember the night he was arrested for a DUI vividly.

"It's scary standing on the side of the road, talking to a police officer and cars driving by," said Christopher McCarthy, he was arrested for a DUI. "They know why you're pulled over a 3 o'clock in the morning. So it was scary, it was embarrassing."

But officers could care less about embarrassing an offender's pride, so long as they're saving a life.

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