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Family of Drugged Driving Victim Criticizes Supreme Court Blood Test Ruling

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Family of Drugged Driving Victim Criticizes Supreme Court Blood Test Ruling

In 2016, a landmark decision in the U.S. Supreme Court made it unconstitutional for police to take a blood test of a suspected DUI driver without a warrant.

However, the ruling has caused a headache for some victims of drunk drivers and their families. The Supreme Court blood test ruling can lower some sentences.

In Arkansas, a driver is accused of being high on drugs before a crash that killed Amber Terry last year.

Her family is fighting for justice, but the Supreme Court ruling just months after she was killed has made it a frustrating process.

Supreme Court blood test ruling under fire

Drunk driving kills hundreds of people every year in Virginia

A police report into Terry’s death said the at-fault driver fell asleep at the wheel and tested positive for methamphetamine. The case is set to go to trial soon.

At the time of Terry’s fatal accident, police could lawfully draw blood without a warrant, but a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the summer of 2016 made that unconstitutional. Conducting a blood test without a warrant now violates the Fourth Amendment. The justices reached a different conclusion about breath tests which they said are less intrusive.

Terry’s family say the driver who killed her may only be jailed for a year and are fighting for a harsher sentence.

Terry’s mother Gail Cook is calling for a change in the legislation or an amendment to the Supreme Court ruling for cases where death is involved. She said:

"I'm not asking for the moon. I'm just saying that if someone dies like this, they should be able to get your blood and make sure that it was truly an accident.”

Arkansas State Police's latest crash statistics pointed to nearly 500 fatal accidents in 2014. About half of them were alcohol and drug related.

In Virginia, 241 deaths were linked to drunk and other impaired driving in 2015. Drunk drivers caused 4,917 injuries that year, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office.

The number of DUI crashes decreased consistently in the decade from 2005 when there were 322 fatalities and 7,512 injuries.

You can read more about drunk driving here. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs rips apart families and destroys the lives of drivers and victims alike. There is never any excuse for drunk driving or driving with drugs in your system.

If you have been injured by an intoxicated driver or if you have lost a loved one, please call our DUI accident injury team or contact us via our website.

Jim Hurley

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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