Wisconsin court OKs unconscious drunk drivers’ blood draws

Wisconsin Supreme Court

MADISON — The state Supreme Court says police can legally draw blood from unconscious drunken drivers.

The court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that drivers automatically consent to a blood draw when they drive on Wisconsin roads. The court found that drivers who drink themselves into unconsciousness forfeit any opportunity to withdraw that consent.

The ruling stems from a case involving Gerald Mitchell, who was arrested for drunken driving in Sheboygan County in 2013. He passed out after he was arrested. Police took him to a nearby hospital for a blood draw. An officer told him he could refuse the withdraw but Mitchell was still unconscious and could not respond. The officer directed hospital staff to draw his blood.

Mitchell argued the draw violated his constitutional rights.

Mitchell’s attorney had no immediate comment.

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