The routine for pulling over a driver has been similar for decades. That is now changing. While Marion County was the first in Indiana to use e-warrants back in 2016, 45 states now utilize e-warrants, which are sent digitally during the initial stop to a waiting judge to approve or deny.
For better or worse, e-warrants considerably speed up the process of getting a search warrant. Gone is the time-honored tradition of law enforcement agencies drafting up a warrant detailing the reason for the search, and then the officers would go down to the courthouse looking for a judge to sign or deny it. The officer then would go back to the crime scene to gather additional evidence.
Now the officer can pull over a car, conduct roadside tests for OWI and get the e-warrant to legally search the car in a few minutes. If officers in certain parts of the country are concerned that the driver is impaired by marijuana, opioids or other drugs, he or she may call upon a van in certain parts of the country be dispatched to the site of the stop to draw blood and verify if the driver is impaired.
Minutes instead of hours
Indiana still does not have the DUI/OWI blood draw van, but according to PBS, the entire process of pulling over the driver, getting the warrant and drawing blood can take just over an hour. The charged driver is then released at the scene where they were pulled over without ever having to go into the station.
A modern rubber stamp?
Critics of this new modern approach to processing OWI/DUI and other crimes fear that the faster approach will steamroll defendants and there could also be issues about drawing blood in an environment that is not sterile. An experienced criminal defense attorney will look at these factors and others involved in the charges to determine if the driver’s rights were violated through the officer’s actions, the test protocols or some other issue.