Court: Police can take blood from unconscious drivers
MADISON — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officers can take blood samples from unconscious drivers without a warrant under certain circumstances.
The court ruled 3-2 on Wednesday that an officer can be justified in taking a blood sample without a warrant when delaying would lead to the destruction of evidence, namely falling levels of alcohol in the drunken driver’s bloodstream.
The ruling concerned the case of David Howes, who in 2013 crashed his motorcycle into a deer. Howes had previous drunken driving convictions and smelled of alcohol, was unconscious and unable to give consent when a Dane County sheriff’s deputy ordered hospital staff to take a blood sample from Howes two hours after the crash.
Howes had argued the deputy violated his rights.