charleston sc dui lawyer News for August 24 2017

Warrantless Blood Draws in DUI Arrests are Unconstitutional in CS

In Birchfield v. North Dakota, decided on June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court held that states cannot criminalize a person’s refusal to provide a blood sample during an investigation or arrest for driving under the influence. The opinion re-affirms the Court’s 2013 decision in Missouri v. McNeely, which held that police must obtain a search warrant before drawing blood without consent, but Birchfield goes a step further in finding that states also cannot criminalize a DUI suspect’s refusal to provide a blood sample. All states, including South Carolina, have some form of implied consent laws that are designed to allow officers to obtain objective evidence of intoxication through breath, blood, or urine samples. The idea is that, by driving on the state’s highways, a person impliedly consents to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample for testing if they are arrested for DUI. In most cases, including South Carolina, if the person refuses to provide a sample, their license is administratively suspended for a period of time. Birchfield consolidates three cases from North Dakota and Minnesota where the states went beyond the administrative suspension and 1) prosecuted a defendant criminally for refusing to provide a blood sample; 2) prosecuted a defendant criminally for refusing to provide a breath sample; and 3) threatened a defendant with criminal prosecution if he did not provide a blood sample. The “Exigent circumstances exception” in some cases permits a warrantless search, including a warrantless blood draw. The states argued that the dissipation of alcohol in the blood is always an exigent circumstance. The argument is that, if the officer has to find a magistrate and obtain a warrant prior to drawing blood, the evidence will be destroyed or lessened by the time the officer is able to take the sample. The Court in McNeely outlined specific circumstances where exigent circumstances would justify a warrantless blood draw, and Birchfield does not change that analysis. The Court also considered whether a warrantless blood draw or breath test is permissible under the “Search incident to arrest exception.” The Fourth Amendment does not protect against search of an arrestee’s person following a lawful arrest. The Court weighs the privacy interests of the individual against the needs of the state to obtain evidence in DUI cases, and concludes that breath tests incident to an arrest for drunk driving are acceptable, but blood draws with a needle are not. It involves inserting a needle into a person’s body and removing blood from the person’s body, it is potentially more embarrassing than providing a breath sample, and potentially it could be used to obtain DNA and other information in addition to the blood alcohol content. It is not reasonable to say that motorists, by driving, impliedly consent to a forcible blood draw without a warrant. Birchfield re-affirms McNeely’s rule that officers must obtain a warrant before taking a blood sample without consent, and it goes further to find that statutes criminalizing blood draw refusals are unconstitutional.
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Myrtle Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer Lacey Thompson has dedicated her practice to representing those who have been accused of a crime. Her passion for criminal defense stems from her former employer and mentor Bobby Frederick. Lacey Thompson is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association and the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Thompson Defense Firm has obtained dismissals, pre-trial diversion resulting in dismissals, or acquittals following trials of criminal cases, and has a record of proven results. Although no attorney can ethically guarantee you results, if your case is not dismissed or settled favorably we will not hesitate to go to trial and fight for you. We have an investigator on staff who will assist in investigating and preparing your case for trial. Our fees are reasonable, but we are not the least expensive defense firm. Our fees reflect our experience and the work that goes into each case. In every criminal case, we charge a flat fee that is determined by the type of charges, the circumstances surrounding the case, the extent of investigation required, an estimate of the hours that will be required to prepare the case for trial, and the likelihood that the case will go to trial or result in a dismissal or other resolution. I am a Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer who does not charge for initial consultations. If you call to set up an appointment, at 843-444-6122, I will speak with you and let you know what I can do to help your situation and what the costs would be. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, contact Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer Lacey Thompson at 843-444-6122 to arrange a free consultation about your legal options. We are determined to aggressively provide every client with the best defense that we can, and our goal is always to achieve the best possible outcome in your case, whether that means a dismissal of your charges, a fair plea agreement through negotiations, or a favorable verdict at trial.
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Criminal Defense Attorney

As a former State prosecutor, I have the unique ability to assess a case from both the prosecution and the defense side. The burden of proof in a criminal trial is on the State/Prosecution to prove that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why it is important to have an attorney who can evaluate your case from both a prosecution and defense point of view. My experience gives me the opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. Having handled hundreds of cases as a prosecutor, I have gained insight to the prosecution’s policies, procedures, strategies and processes. These key concepts could be beneficial in your case. As a criminal defense attorney I have defended both adults and/or juveniles who faced charges of DUI, Criminal Domestic Violence, Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, Assault and Battery, state and federal drug charges, Counterfeiting Money, Bank Fraud, Obtaining Signatures by False Pretenses, Burglaries, Grand Larcenies, Manufacturing Marijuana, and other criminal charges. I am committed to providing you with the personalized, hands-on advice and guidance you need for your case.
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