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15 J. Bus. & Tech. L. Proxy 1 (2021)

handle is hein.journals/jbtprxy15 and id is 1 raw text is: Mitchell v. Wisconsin: Warrantless Blood Tests on
Unconscious DWI Suspects are Almost Always
Consistent with the Fourth Amendment
In Mitchell v. Wisconsin, the Supreme Court addressed whether police can obtain
a warrantless blood sample from an unconscious driving while intoxicated (DWI)
suspect.1 The Court held that when a DWI suspect is unconscious, the police can
almost always order a blood test without obtaining a warrant.2 Nevertheless, the
Court remanded the case to give Mitchell an opportunity to show that the police could
have reasonably obtained a warrant in his particular case.3 The Court's holding is
correct because it is consistent with Court precedent and properly balanced the public
policy need to deter drunk driving and DWI suspects' Fourth Amendment4 privacy
Alcohol related car collisions cause 10,000 to 20,000 fatalities per year in the
United States.5 Accordingly, to reduce drunk driving related deaths, there is a
compelling need for states to enforce DWI criminal statutes.6 To enforce DWI
statutes, police rely on three technologies to measure the blood alcohol concentration
(BAC) of DWI suspects.7
The first technology police use to gauge BAC is the preliminary, roadside breath
test. Generally, roadside breath tests only establish probable cause to arrest a DWI
suspect but are insufficient evidence to obtain a DWI conviction.' To obtain
©   Pinchas Balsam, 2021.
*  Pinchas Balsam is a student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The
author wishes to thank his editors at the Journal of Business and Technology Law for their guidance and feedback.
The author would also like to thank his family and friends for their encouragement and support.
1.  139 S. Ct. 2525 (2019).
2. Id. at 2530.
3. Id. at 2539.
4. U.S. CONST. amend. IV.
5. Mitchell 139 S. Ct. at 2536 (citing NAT'L HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMIN., TRAFFIC
SAFETY FACTS 2016 (May 2018)).
6. See Mitchell, 139 S. Ct. at 2537.
7. See infra notes 7-9 and accompanying text.
8. Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160, 2191 (2016) (Sotomayor, J., dissenting) (reasoning that
reliability concerns generally limit roadside breath tests to establishing probable cause).

Journal of Business & Technology Law


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