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United States

Wisconsin high court allows blood draws from unconscious drunk drivers

The court ruled 5-2 that a motorist arrested for inebriation who passed out had forfeited his right to refuse a blood-alcohol test

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 12:30am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 12:53am

The Wisconsin state Supreme Court says police can legally draw blood from unconscious people suspected of driving while drunk.

The court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that drivers automatically consented to a blood draw when they drove on Wisconsin roads.

The court found that drivers who drink themselves into unconsciousness forfeit any opportunity to withdraw that consent.

The ruling stems from a case involving Gerald Mitchell, who was arrested for drunken driving in Sheboygan County in 2013. He passed out after he was arrested. Police took him to a hospital for a blood test.

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An officer told him he could refuse the test, but Mitchell was still unconscious and couldn’t respond. The officer directed hospital staff to draw his blood.

In the court case, Mitchell argued that the draw violated his constitutional rights.

Mitchell’s lawyer did not immediately comment on the ruling.