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High Court Rules on Warrantless DUI Samples

Because cops had more than seven hours to obtain a warrant before they forcibly took samples of blood and urine from Ralph Eubanks, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that evidence used to convict him in a 2009 hit-and-run should have been supressed. This even as justices wrote that such searches are Constitutional when cops have probable cause. Eubanks fled the scene in Rogers Park where Maria Worthon lay dying and refused permission for the blood draw conducted at a local hospital after cops apprehended him a short time later. While no alcohol was found, Eubanks was tried on a first-degree murder charge after the urine sample revealed other drugs in his system.

Eubanks appealed and judges in the 1st District overturned his 40-year sentence upon finding the forcible extraction violated his Constitutional rights. Citing US Supreme Court treatment of warrantless blood draws, justices in the state’s highest court agreed that the samples had been unlawfully obtained. In a 5-1 ruling, they said cops still are within their rights to do so in emergencies and suggested lawmakers revisit state statutes to codify those rules. The court also agreed with Eubanks that the trial judge erred by failing to instruct the jury on a lesser charge of reckless homicide. They added fleeing the scene was proof Eubanks didn’t intend to report the accident within the 30-minute window offered by state law.