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Appeals Court: Warrantless Blood Draw for Pot Suppressed

Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

The Court of Appeals just ruled that police still need to get a warrant to draw blood even for marijuana despite the argument it leaves the blood stream quicker than alcohol. In that case, Seattle police arrested a woman for DUI after she was involved in a collision. She explained she uses prescription marijuana and smoked some earlier that day. Police also stated she showed sign of impairment. However, police decided not to obtain a search warrant as required before having her blood drawn, arguing that that the natural dissipation of THC in a suspect’s bloodstream will constitute an “exigency” sufficient to forgo the warrant.

However, the Court of Appeals found the City failed to show that a warrant could not have been obtained in a reasonable time prior to the blood draw. The Court explained that getting a warrant would not have created a significant delay in collecting a blood sample and concluded the warrantless blood draw here was not justified under the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement.
City of Seattle v. Tamisha Pearson

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