New Ruling limits police from fishing expedition no-refusal urine tests

A new appellate decision was released this week that deals with what has be known as “no-refusal” situations.

In People v. Miranda, 2012 IL App (2d) 100769 an Elmhurst police officer pulled over the defendant for traffic violations.  Upon speaking with the driver, he noticed an odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot and glassy eyes, and a flushed face.  There was open alcohol in the vehicle, and the defendant admitted to have been drinking at a strip club.  Mr. Miranda failed three field sobriety tests, and was arrested for a DUI.  It was determined that his driver’s license was revoked for a prior DUI.

Mr. Miranda refused to consent to a breath test, and the officer sought a search warrant for collection of his blood and urine.  In the affidavit, the officer stated that he believed that Mr. Miranda was under the influence of “alcohol and/or drugs.”  The search warrant allowed for the collection of blood and urine to be tested for alcohol, drugs or controlled substances.

At a hearing, it was revealed that while defendant’s blood was tested for alcohol only (not drugs), his urine was tested for cocaine and cannabinoids only (not alcohol).

After several hearings, the results of the urine test (for drugs) were suppressed, and this ruling was affirmed by the Appellate Court.

The gist of the ruling was that the officer only had probable cause to suspect the defendant of driving under the influence of alcohol, not drugs.  Mr. Miranda admitted drinking, he smelled of alcohol, there was alcohol in his car.  He failed sobriety tests that are used to determine whether a person is intoxicated.  The officer arrested him for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Nothing was apparent to suggest narcotic usage.  The request to test for alcohol, drugs or controlled substances seemed like a “fishing expedition” in hopes of finding some additional evidence.

The court was wise in not allowing wide-open testing for drug usage, without any probable cause for it, whenever there is a DUI arrest.  If this was permissible, and probable cause were not required, then what would prevent the police from ordering everyone who pulls up at a roadblock to take a breath test or provide a blood or urine sample?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s