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May 02, 2013 09:55 PM

Court Ruling Changes SF DUI Investigations

Sioux Falls, SD

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is changing the way Sioux Falls Police officers investigate DUIs.

The high court recently ruled that a warrantless blood draw during a DUI arrest in Missouri was unconstitutional.

Sioux Falls Police are now going to require officers to get a warrant over the phone with an on-call judge before they draw blood in DUI investigations.

"We've opted in cases where officers have to do a forced blood draw we are going to look at getting a telephonic search warrant first," Sioux Falls Police Captain Rich Miller said.

Police are making the change after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that officers can't draw blood without a warrant just because the alcohol level may drop in the time it takes to get a warrant.

But South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is telling law enforcement across the state they can still conduct blood draws without a warrant. Jackley says the Supreme Court didn't address South Dakota's law that says anyone who drives on the roads consents to a blood test.

"South Dakota law remains in effect until either our South Dakota courts, or our elected legislature makes a change," Jackley said.

"He has to uphold the law as it is written that's what he's charged with so until the legislature changes it he doesn't really have a lot of choice," attorney Jack Der Hagopian said.

Jack Der Hagopian has defended DUI cases and says the U.S. Supreme Court ruling opens the door for current blood tests to get tossed from court.

"I think anybody at this point in time who has not consensually given a blood test, who has a pending case, could certainly challenge that," Der Hagopian said.

That's a challenge Sioux Falls Police don't want to take on and that's why they are going to get a warrant before they force a draw blood.

"We're just trying to take that extra precaution on our side to make sure we're doing this correctly and right in regards to that," Miller said.

Jackley says he is prepared to defend current state law allowing blood tests without a warrant in court.

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