Suppose a police officer asks someone suspected of a DUI in Los Angeles to consent to a test to measure the blood alcohol content in their body. If the blood test turns up evidence of drug usage—which the officer did not mention in his request for that blood test—can the state use those results to win a DUI conviction?
The Minnesota Supreme Court recently addressed a similar question in a ruling in a 2014 DWI case. According to a report by Minnesota Public Radio, police requested a warrant to draw Debra Fawcett’s blood after she ran a red light and caused a two-vehicle crash. Fawcett admitted to drinking a few beers earlier in the day.
The test results showed that Fawcett’s blood was alcohol free. However, they also revealed that she had THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and Alprazolam in her bloodstream. (Physicians often prescribe Alprazolam, better known by its trade name Xanax, for anxiety disorders.) Fawcett did have a valid prescription for the drug.