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Court: Driver’s blood alcohol test wasn’t a search

September 29, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A driver who was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated had no reasonable expectation of privacy after he submitted a blood sample to the state for a blood alcohol concentration test, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court issued an opinion in the case of David Almeida, who had consented to giving the blood sample following his arrest in Bethlehem in 2019.

The New Hampshire State Forensic Laboratory received the sample, but it did not immediately perform a test. Almeida withdrew his consent in a letter from his lawyer nearly two weeks later.

But the state lab said the sample was already logged into the system and then performed the test, which showed the blood-alcohol concentration to be nearly twice the legal limit.

Almeida argued to suppress the test results, arguing that the state violated his right to be free from an unreasonable search and that he has a significant privacy interest in his blood. A judge agreed with him. The state appealed.

The supreme court ruled that the blood-alcohol concentration test was not a search under the state and federal constitutions and sent the case back to a lower court.