OLYMPIA, Wash. (CN) – The Washington Supreme Court ruled that officers can get a search warrant for a blood test if a driver refuses to take a voluntary breath test. It also ruled that officers don’t have to tell drivers of their intent to seek the warrant for a blood test.
The court ruled that getting a warrant for a driver who declines a breath test does not violate consent laws or due process rights.
“The legislative intent is plain on the face of the statute that an officer may obtain a blood alcohol test pursuant to a warrant regardless of the implied consent statute,” the opinion states.
Washington state law allows drivers to refuse the breath test, but they could lose their licenses for a year if they do.
The ruling came after a Seattle Municipal Court judge refused to allow the results of a blood test from Robert St. John, who refused a breath test after being hurt in a motorcycle crash in July 2005. Seattle obtained a warrant for a blood test. A Superior Court judge reversed the lower court’s decision, and St. John appealed.