When can police order a blood test for drugs and alcohol?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Blog, DWI/DUI Defense

If you find yourself pulled over by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence, you may wonder if and when law enforcement can legally order a blood test to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system.

There are only certain circumstances when the police can require a blood test, and you have some rights in these situations.

Implied consent laws

Most states, including New Hampshire, have implied consent laws, which means that by obtaining a driver’s license, you have implicitly agreed to submit to chemical tests if suspected of driving under the influence. Refusal to comply with a legally requested blood test can result in administrative penalties, such as license suspension, even if you do not get convicted of a DUI.

Probable cause

For police to order a blood test, they must have probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Determining probable cause relies on observations of your driving behavior, physical signs of impairment, field sobriety tests or breath test results. If probable cause exists, police can typically obtain a warrant to compel a blood test.

Exigent circumstances

In some cases, police may order a blood test without a warrant under exigent circumstances. This exception applies when the time required to get a warrant would result in the destruction of evidence, such as the dissipation of drugs or alcohol in the bloodstream.

If the police require a blood test during a DUI stop, it is important to understand your rights and the potential implications of the test results on your case.