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US Supreme Court decision impacts TN's 'No Refusal' law

7:56 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
The law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for a blood sample if a person arrested for driving under the influence refuses to consent to one
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A tool used by law enforcement to catch drivers under the influence is now subject to some new rules.

Tennessee's No Refusal law allowed law enforcement to get a blood sample from somebody arrested for DUI, and in some cases, without a warrant. The idea was to obtain evidence of impairment as quickly as possible, before a suspect's body could metabolize it.

But a Supreme Court decision based on a Missouri case last week offered a more narrow interpretation of the law. Now all blood samples require a warrant signed by a judge, and counties will have to adjust their process.

"It means in Knox County, we have 24/7 magistrates, we now to 24/7 warrants which is going to make for some interesting times for our office. We're going to be up at two in the morning a little bit more than we were in the past, but we're willing to do that," said Assistant DA Jamie Carter.

Carter says the DA's office is preparing a memo to local law enforcement that will help inform patrol officers who will soon undergo new training for the process.

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