April 18, 2013

Supreme Court DUI Blood Case [Follow Up]

After the US Supreme Court ruling yesterday in Missouri v. McNeely, the question comes to mind: What are exigent circumstances? Exigent Circumstances are the "immediate and serious consequences that would occur" if time was used to get a warrant.

Some examples are:
  • the "automobile exception,
  • search incident to arrest,
  • inventory searches,
  • hot pursuit,
  • stop and frisk,
  • border searches,
  • plain view,
  • school searches,
  • seizure of package pending issuance of a warrant,
  • consent searches; and
  • administrative searches.
In each case where a search is sought to be justified on the basis of "exigent circumstances," it must be decided on its own facts, but the "critical commonality shared by exigency cases is the need for quick action in an emergency situation." Murdock v. Stout, 54 F.3d 1437, 1440 (9th Cir. 1995).

There are a number of situations which will justify a warrantless entry or search. Among the most common is where obtaining a warrant would result in the loss or destruction of evidence.

However, in Missouri v. McNeely, the Supreme Court refused to recognize this as a blanket exception to the warrant requirement in DUI cases where police seize a suspect's blood sample without consent.

Who has to prove that immediate and serious consequences would have occurred if the cops attempted to get a warrant?  Since 1984, the law has been unchanged . . .

"The police bear a heavy burden when attempting to demonstrate an urgent need that might justify warrantless searches or arrests." Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. 740, 749-750, 104 S. Ct. 2091, 80 L. Ed. 2d 732 (1984).
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