Mark Mullan is accused of driving drunk and striking a family of pedestrians earlier this year. This incident sparked an outcry for tougher DUI laws in Washington, especially against repeat DUI offenders.
But as Mullan's case is headed to trial, there's a chance that key evidence against him may be inadmissible in court.
After Mullan was arrested for the DUI, he was taken to a local hospital for a blood draw. However, police did not have a warrant to get Mullan's blood, reports Q13 Fox.
Previously, Washington police officers did not need a warrant to take blood from a DUI suspect in cases of injury or death. However, the Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled that such warrants are necessary prior to taking blood in a case out of Missouri.
Since the police officer did not meet this step, Mullan's attorneys may have an argument to keep the blood draw evidence out. But even without this evidence, prosecutors may still have plenty of evidence against the suspected drunk driver.
Prior to the blood draw, Mullan did take a Breathalyzer test where he tested for almost three times the legal limit. In addition, Mullan reportedly failed a field sobriety test and admitted to authorities that he had been drinking.
The requirement that law enforcement have a warrant prior to a blood draw may not be that great of an obstacle in future cases. Judges are on call around the clock, and with electronic communication a warrant may be obtained in minutes. However, this extra hurdle is meant to protect criminal suspects and if law enforcement fail to meet this step, the evidence they gather may be kept out.
If you have been charged with a DUI in the Seattle or King County areas, you should know that you may have a valid defense to the charge even if you tested positive on a Breathalyzer or blood draw test. There is no test that automatically equates to guilt.
Contact the DUI defense attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense if you have a question about your case. Call 425-284-2000 to schedule a consultation. Don't fight your case alone!