Blood alcohol tests are routinely administered by police -along with breath tests -to determine the level of alcohol content in the blood of a driver suspected of drunk driving. But the general rule is that because the drawing of blood is such an intrusion into the human body, it constitutes a “search and seizure” under the US Constitution.

Thus, in most cases a warrant needs to be obtained before a blood test can be administered. There are exceptions to the rule. As set forth in the recent New Jersey case of State v. Zalcberg, when an officer reasonably believes that he does not have time to secure a warrant from a judge or magistrate, because of the rapid burn off rate of alcohol in a suspect’s system, he may compel the suspect to submit to such a blood test without this warrant.

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