SCOTUS to decide Wisconsin case involving blood alcohol tests while unconscious

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(WQOW)- The U.S Supreme Court will soon decide a Wisconsin case about how police test drivers for drunk driving.

According to state law, when you get your driver’s license you are agreeing to implied consent. That means if an officer has probable cause you’re driving impaired, the officer can take a sample of your blood, urine or breath.

In the case Mitchell v. Wisconsin, Gerald Mitchell was arrested for driving drunk. Police drew his blood to test his blood alcohol content, but Mitchell was unconscious.

UW-Eau Claire Political Science Professor Eric Kasper said under current law, you can choose to withdraw your consent, forcing police to get a warrant to do blood, urine, or breathalyzer tests.

Mitchell’s lawyers argue the blood draw was unconstitutional because he couldn’t withdraw his consent. The state disagrees. “If he drank so much alcohol that he’s no longer conscious he hasn’t indicated that he withdraws his consent so his consent still remains,” Kasper said.

The U.S Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week. Kasper said a decision is expected in June.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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