Blood Tests Instead Of Breathalyzers For DUIs In Bismarck?
UPDATE: At the time of the following post was written, the original news story on blood draws for DUIs was misreported by the cited source. Rather than the this being a current event, the story referenced NOW indicates that the blood draws were happening in the early stages of COVID-19 impacting North Dakota.
That being said, this particular post is about the legality of blood draws in North Dakota. If you've been stopped and submitted to a blood test without a warrant, you may want to check this out: Birchfield vs. North Dakota.
Most everything has changed since the start of the pandemic. I hate to use the phrase, but the "new normal" seems to evolve everyday. Now, in Bismarck, instead of breathalyzers being used for DUI traffic stops, blood draws are going to be the "new normal."
According to KFYR-TV, the Bismarck Police Department has gone from doing breathalyzer tests for drunk driving traffic stops to doing blood draws instead. The news report says that this is because the department is taking precautions because of the Coronavirus. Get the full story from KFYR-TV here.
But did you know that a blood draw can't be done for a DUI traffic stop without a warrant? I was today years old when I learned this information. On April 20, 2016, in the case of Birchfield vs. North Dakota, it was held that "The Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests." Of course, the legalese of this ruling is a lot to go over, so you can get the full information on Birchfield vs. North Dakota and the legality of warrantless blood draws here.
Now, I am not condoning drinking and driving. In fact, you can just avoid a DUI all together by A) staying sober or B) not driving if you're under the influence. But I think it's important to know that you legally don't have to submit to a blood draw. However, the police DO STILL HAVE THE OPTION TO BREATHALYZE WITHOUT A WARRANT, and it could still happen if you're caught. So, don't think that you'll be off-the-hook if you're drunk driving.