These days, police officers in Montana are more often than not attempting to take blood samples in DUI cases rather than relying only on breath tests. However, your blood is constitutionally protected. So unless you consent to the officer taking your blood, law enforcement must apply for and be approved for a search warrant to forcibly draw your blood at a hospital.
In today’s post, we’ll talk more about warrant requirements in Montana and how a skillful DUI defense attorney like those at the Judnich Law Office can help you fight improperly collected evidence.
DID YOU KNOW: Marty Judnich & Nathan Hulling are NHSTA certified DUI defense attorneys
Together Marty and Nathan are among the most accomplished DUI defense attorneys in Montana. As your DUI defense team – no other attorneys can give you a more comprehensive defense of a DUI charge.
The warrant process in Montana
Obtaining a valid search warrant for blood can be a tricky process — and the process differs from case to case.
For example, if you never refused to provide a breath test during a DUI investigation and have never been convicted of DUI before, then law enforcement cannot obtain a warrant to draw your blood in Montana.
Step 1: Meeting the prerequisites
What needs to happen for a law enforcement officer in Montana to apply for and receive a valid search warrant for blood? The prerequisites are that:
- The subject refused to provide a breath, blood or urine sample after request by law enforcement in Montana or any other state; or
- The arrested subject has a prior pending DUI or DUI conviction from this state or another state.
Step 2: Applying for the warrant
Law enforcement will then apply for a search warrant for the blood via a telephonic search warrant. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The officer simply calls the judge right then, and obtains the warrant over the phone. Once the judge approves the warrant, then the officer can take you to the hospital and forcibly draw your blood.
Watch and learn as Marty Judnich busts the most common Montana DUI myths
Possible errors and missteps in the process…
Remember, law enforcement officers must still comply with establishing all the legal requirements of relaying the proper information to the judge about why they want the warrant and how their experience justifies the warrant. For those accused of DUI and other crimes, that telephone call is recorded, so mistakes can be found by a skilled defense attorney.
What does “forcibly draw your blood” mean?
When an officer has a warrant for to draw your blood, you have 2 options:
- You can comply with the warrant and allow a nurse to draw your blood for law enforcement use
- You can be restrained and the nurse can forcibly draw the blood despite your non-cooperation.
What happens to the blood?
Blood testing equipment used by the state of Montana
After the blood is drawn, it’s placed into special containers for law enforcement use and tested at the state crime lab. Read more about how blood is tested and how a DUI attorney can challenge improperly collected and improperly analyzed evidence.
Warrants approving a blood draw are tricky and only a very experienced DUI defense attorney like those at the Judnich Law Office have the ability to properly evaluate these cases and find out if law enforcement made a mistake that could lead to the court throwing out the blood testing in your case.
Charged with a DUI? Did you have your blood drawn?
If you want to discuss your options and the facts of your case, contact Judnich Law Office online or call us today at (406) 721-3354 for a free consultation.
Your consultation is always confidential and we take every case seriously.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.