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State Supreme Court Rules Police Can Draw Blood From Unconscious Drunken Driving Suspects

Court Rules 5-2 On Tuesday

Jay Kleeman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The state Supreme Court says that police can legally draw blood from unconscious drunken drivers.

The court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that drivers automatically consent to a blood draw when they drive on Wisconsin roads. The court found that drivers who drink themselves into unconsciousness forfeit any opportunity to withdraw that consent.

The ruling stems from a case involving Gerald Mitchell, who was arrested for drunken driving in Sheboygan County in 2013. He passed out after he was arrested. Police took him to a hospital for a blood draw. An officer told him that he could refuse the draw, but Mitchell was still unconscious and couldn’t respond. The officer directed hospital staff to draw his blood.

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Mitchell argued the draw violated his constitutional rights.

Mitchell’s attorney hasn’t commented on the ruling.