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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho Supreme Court rules blood draw from driver who refuses tests requires a warrant

Police must get warrants before drawing blood from suspected drunken drivers who refuse to cooperate, the Idaho Supreme Court has decided in two Kootenai County cases. The opinions, including one issued yesterday, follow a national trend of courts limiting warrantless blood draws and suppressing evidence obtained from such samples, writes S-R reporter Scott Maben; you can read his full story here at

“It is a big decision,” said Justin Curtis, a deputy state appellate public defender in Boise. “It’s going to affect a fair number of cases that are already in the pike.” The rulings effectively reverse the state Supreme Court’s position, which previously held that the implied consent law allows warrantless blood draws on drivers even against their will. The rulings in Idaho and other states follow a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision; since that ruling, police agencies in Idaho including the Idaho State Police have been getting warrants before drawing a suspected drunk driver’s blood without consent.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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