Will judges in California soon be working round-the-clock issuing warrants for blood alcohol tests for drivers suspected of DUI in Los Angeles? That’s what’s happening in Hawaii, thanks to a ruling last fall from the state’s Supreme Court.
The Hawaii Supreme Court said that police officers could not coerce drivers (by threatening them with jail or loss of license) to submit to a BAC. The ruling said that “the right to be free of warrant-less searches and seizures is a fundamental guarantee of our constitution.”
So unless a driver voluntarily gives consent–which most will not–or unless there is an emergency, jurisdictions in Hawaii that want to use BAC evidence in court now have to get warrants. But Hawaiian law also requires that the police measure blood alcohol within three hours of the alleged offense. The situation has left prosecutors scrambling to find ways to make it easier for judges to issue BAC warrants on short notice. Continue reading