Question: Are officers required to have a search warrant before taking a blood sample after an OWI arrest in Wisconsin?

Answer: Yes and no. There is a new U.S. Supreme Court case, which has discussed this, and it says that the officer must either have a search warrant or there must be some exception to the requirement for a search warrant, specifically when they are taking blood from an OWI arrest. So there are other exceptions that can apply in OWI cases. The one we see most commonly is consent. If you agree to provide the blood sample and that consent is constitutionally valid consent, then the officers do not need to get a warrant; that is sufficient. There are some other circumstances also if there is what is call exigent circumstances; that’s when there’s an emergency. The officer might not be able to get a warrant quickly enough to get the evidence and then that can be sufficient. Then they can go ahead, get the blood sample, even though they don’t have a warrant if there’s drastic enough circumstances to support that.

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