Tyler M. Ludwig


The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires police officers to obtain a warrant before conducting a search of an individual. However, doing so is not always possible, and courts have created exceptions to this requirement in order to deal with pragmatic limitations. The need for these exceptions has often been presented to the United States Supreme Court in the context of obtaining blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) tests from drivers suspected of driving under the influence. In Mitchell v. Wisconsin, the Supreme Court dealt with a new problem in this area: drawing blood from a suspected drunk driver who was unconscious. The Court ruled that in virtually all such instances, police may permissibly order a blood draw without first obtaining a warrant. The Court reasoned that such situations generally fall within the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, which allows for warrantless searches to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.

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