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SD High Court: Warrant Needed For DUI Blood Samples

August 21, 2014, 4:35 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SD High Court: Warrant Needed For DUI Blood Samples

The five South Dakota Supreme Court justices all agree; officers in the state can't take a blood sample from a suspected drunk driver without a warrant or the suspect's consent.

They handed down the unanimous decision Thursday after Shauna Fierro's case went in front of the high court earlier this year.

The Butte County woman refused to give a blood sample during a DUI arrest last August.

"This was a mandatory blood draw scenario where the government is piercing the skin of a fellow citizen to collect evidence and that's a pretty serious invasion of privacy," Fierro's attorney Joe Kosel said Thursday.

Previous Story: SD Supreme Court Hears DUI Blood Draw Case 

Fierro's attorneys argued in front of the Supreme Court in May that under the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year in Missouri v. McNeely law enforcement must get a warrant or consent to take a sample.

"What the state can't do is say we've passed a law that now has essentially as a legal fiction abrogated the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement," Fierro's appeal attorney Ron Parsons said on May 28.

Justice Lori Wilbur agreed in Thursday’s decision that state law can't trump the Constitution.

"Our precedent is clear that the Legislature cannot enact a statute that would preempt a citizen's constitutional right, such as a citizen's Fourth Amendment right," Wilbur wrote.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the ruling means law enforcement and the legislature will both have to make changes in DUI protocol.

"Really all 50 states are dealing with some level of adjusting their DUI laws to both take into account balancing the interest of protecting the public from drunk drivers and that level of government intrusion," Jackley said.

Several law enforcement agencies across South Dakota were already getting warrants for DUI blood draws following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in April of 2013. This decision on the state level reinforces the law and will bring more uniformity in arrests.

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