Search and Seizure

A Warrant for your DWI Blood

Sec. 20-16.2(b) purportedly allowed an officer to obtain blood from an unconscious person without the requirement that the officer first get a warrant. That provision was struck down last week in State v. Romano, in which an officer obtained excess blood drawn from a patient/DWI suspect at the hospital without having first gotten a warrant.…

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Supreme Court Rules That Police Need Warrant to Search Cell Phones

Criminal defense lawyers and defendants accused of a crime are breathing a sigh of relief today after a welcome ruling by the Supreme Court. The Court ruled unanimously that police cannot search the cell phone of a criminal suspect without consent from the suspect or a warrant. The argument for warrantless cell phone searches had…

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Can Officers Draw Blood in DWI cases?

If you’re stopped in a DWI, can an officer draw your blood even without your consent? What protections do you have against a warrantless blood draw in a DWI case? In North Carolina (and most states), your refusal to submit to an Intox EC/IR II breathalyzer test will result in what’s called a “refusal.” That…

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Stopping a Car – Are you Nervous?

Many Driving While Impaired offenses turn on the question of whether the police had the constitutional power to stop the car. That’s because once the car is stopped, most people make all kinds of admissions and display all kinds of clues that indicate that they may be impaired. Once those field sobriety tests are conducted,…

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North Carolina Checkpoint Law

As the holiday season approaches, drivers should plan to expect checkpoints. Checkpoints are increasingly common features of law enforcement strategy and are governed by particular rules. Federal money subsidizes the use of checkpoints through state programs such as the Governor’s Highway Safety Program The general rule is that checkpoints may not be established for general…

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Drawing Blood in a DWI Hospital Case

Shea Denning at the School of Government’s Criminal Law Blog has an interesting post on whether medical professionals can be compelled to draw blood by threat of criminal prosecution. NCGS 20-139.1 establishes the various ways that police can collect a chemical analysis from someone charged in an impaired driving offense. It requires medical professionals –…

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Writs of Assistance: The Odor of Marijuana

The Fourth Amendment reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things…

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Blood and Raleigh DWI Cases

When someone is arrested in North Carolina for a DWI, the state typically will require that the person undergo a chemical analysis. This analysis most often requires the person to blow into a machine called the Intox EC/IR II, a machine manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc. If the person refuses to blow or the person is…

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Reasonable Suspicion, DWIs, and Speeding

Reasonable suspicion is the standard by which an officer can effect a stop of a vehicle. It is the lowest standard in the criminal system. Reasonable suspicion requires that “[t]he stop… be based on specific and articulable facts, as well as the rational inferences from those facts, as viewed through the eyes of a reasonable,…

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Technology, the Fourth Amendment, and the Drug War

The United States Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the Fourth Amendment is hopelessly naive, incoherent, and stupefying. Chalk that up to the Drug War, which for forty years has been a tool by both drug warriors and government officials to expand the government’s power to conduct searches. Let’s take one example: Kyllo v. US, 533 US…

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