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SD Supreme Court Hears DUI Blood Draw Case

May 28, 2014, 4:52 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SD Supreme Court Hears DUI Blood Draw Case

It’s a decision that could change the way South Dakota law enforcement conducts DUI arrests.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard a drunk driving case Wednesday that is being challenged after a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

The country’s highest court said officers need a warrant or consent from the offender to collect a blood sample during a DUI arrest.

The case being considered by the South Dakota Supreme Court is a standard DUI arrest that happened in Butte County last August. A Highway Patrol trooper collected a blood sample from Shauna Fierro without a warrant and without consent.

The South Dakota Attorney General's Office argues that the state's implied consent law allows officers to collect those samples as part of DUI arrests.

“People are placed on notice in exchange for the privilege to operate motor vehicles on the highways of this state that they will consent to a withdrawal of blood, breath, or other bodily substances for the purposes of an analysis to determine whether they were impaired," Assistant South Dakota Attorney General Jeffrey Hallem said.

Sioux Falls attorney Ron Parsons represents Fierro, who was arrested for her first DUI last summer. Parsons claims the state's implied consent law contradicts a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Missouri v. McNeely.

2013 Story: Blood Tests In DUI Cases Face Test

"A blanket rule that says we passed a statute that says you don't have Fourth Amendment rights anymore to refuse a compelled blood draw without a warrant; that type of bright line rule I suggest the state can't draw and this court should not tolerate," Parsons said.

The Attorney General's office argues the U.S. Supreme Court never addressed a state law like the one South Dakota has on the books.

"The consent is traditional consent because that was knowingly, voluntarily and freely given when I get behind the wheel drunk and started operating on the highways," Hallem said.

Parsons argues a state law can't override constitutional rights.

"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," Parsons said.

The Attorney General's Office is looking to the Supreme Court for direction on how it should carry out DUI arrests. A decision from the justices could take several months.

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