Supreme Court rules on Wisconsin drunken driving case

Credit: NBC 26 Wisconsin
Published on August 7, 2019 - Duration: 03:45s
A Supreme Court ruling will affect Wisconsin drivers moving forward.

Supreme Court rules on Wisconsin drunken driving case

WHERE THE ISSUEOF DRUNKEN DRIVINGIN WISCONSINRECENTLY WENT ALLTHE WAY TO THE U-SSUPREME COURT.WHAT BEGAN AS ASHEBOYGAN O-W-IARREST IN 20-13..TURNED INTO ALENGTHY LEGALBATTLE.NBC26'S MATTJARCHOW EXPLAINS...WHAT THIS NOWMEANS FORWISCONSIN DRIVERS.'We'll hear argument nextin Case 18-6210, Mitchellversus Wisconsin.'THE QUESTIONBEFORE THE COURT..DOES WISCONSINLAW ALLOW POLICETO GET A BLOODSAMPLE WITHOUT AWARRANT..WHEN ASUSPECTEDDRUNKEN DRIVER ISUNCONSCIOUS?IT'S AN ISSUETODAY..BUT STARTEDSIX YEARS AGO..WHENSHEBOYGAN POLICEARRESTED THISMAN..GERALDMITCHELL..FOR ASEVENTH OFFENSEO-W-I.THE POLICE REPORTSHOWS THEARRESTING OFFICERTOOK MITCHELL TO AHOSPITAL TO TEST HISBLOOD..BUTM,ITCHELL PASSEDOUT ON THE WAY.THE OFFICER 'FELTMITCHELL WAS TOOUNSTABLE TOPERFORM A BREATHTEST' AND LATER'WENT COMPLETELYLIMP'.THE OFFICER READAN OFFICIAL FORMREQUIRED TO TAKEBLOOD..CALLED THE'INFORMING THEACCUSED FORM'.MITCHELL WAS STILLPASSED OUTAND..'COULD NOTRESPOND, THUSCOULD NOT PROVIDEANY RESPONSES TOQUESTIONS.'WITHOUT AWARRANT..THEBLOOD DRAW WASTAKEN..AND LATERCAME BACK WITH ARESULT OF POINT 2-2..NEARLY THREETIMES THE LEGALLIMIT."The question hereconcerns the interplaybetween the fourthamendment and ourimplied consent laws."ASSISTANT ATTORNEYGENERAL HANNAHJURSS ARGUED THECASE FOR THE STATEOF WISCONSIN.SHE SAID A DRIVER INWISCONSIN AGREESTO BLOOD ANDBREATH TESTS JUSTBY GETTING BEHINDTHE WHEEL."Our argument was thatthe implied consent lawscreate an exceptionunder the FourthAmendment to thewarrant requirement."THE FOURTHAMENDMENTPROTECTS AGAINSTUNREASONABLESEARCH ANDSEIZURE.IT WAS A BIG PART OFMITCHELL'S DEFENSETEAM'S ARGUMENT.'The state advances abold and novelproposition here, that itcan excuse itself fromthe Fourth Amendmentwarrant requirementsimply by enacting astatute saying that someof it's - that its citizenshave consented to asearch.'THE DEFENSE SAID ACONSCIOUS CHOICEIS THE BARE MINIMUMFOR CONSENT.'The state has perfectlyadequate means, otherthan a warrantless blooddraw, to vindicate itsinterest in -- in catchingand punishing drunkdrivers.'PROSECUTORSARGUED ANUNCONSCIOUSPERSON IS A MEDICALEMERGENCY,MEDICAL STAFF WILLWANT BLOOD FORTREATMENT, THERE ISOFTEN A CAR CRASHINVOLVED, AND THEPRIMARY BLOODEVIDENCE ISDISAPPEARING."All of that together ledthe court to say - almostalways, police will haveexigent circumstances."THE SUPREMECOURT'S 5-TO-4MAJORITY RULINGCENTERED ON THOSEEXIGENTCIRCUMSTANCES.IT MEANS ALMOSTALWAYS..POLICE WILLHAVE SOME REASONTO GET A BLOODDRAW FROM ANUNCONSCIOUSDRIVER WITHOUT AWARRANT.'It's been pretty wellestablished, I thinkuniformly, that driving onthe roads is considered aprivilege and not a right,to which certainconditions can -- canattach.'"I think the court'sdecision is a recognitionof just how important it isthat law enforcement beable to have the meansto effectively combatdrunk driving while alsothen attending to all ofthe other needs that arethen created by theactions of the intoxicateddriver."THE RULING IN THISCASE UPHOLDSMITCHELL'S 7TH OWI..IT ALSO HELPS SET ASTANDARD FOR ALLCASES MOVINGFORWARD..IF YOU'RE PASSEDOUT BEHIND THEWHEEL..POLICE CANALMOST ALWAYS TAKEAND TEST YOURBLOOD.MATT JARCHOW,NBC26.AND JUST TO SHOWHOWCONTROVERSIAL THISCASE WAS..THE SUPREMECOURT'S RULING WAS5-TO-4.WE

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