Schmerber v. California

384 US 757 (1966)


Schmerber (D) was convicted of driving an automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. D was arrested at a hospital while receiving treatment for injuries suffered in an accident involving the automobile that he had apparently been driving. A police officer directed that a blood sample be taken. Over D's objection, it was withdrawn from D's body by a physician at the hospital. The chemical analysis revealed that D was intoxicated at the time of the offense. D objected to receipt of this evidence of the analysis on the ground that the blood had been withdrawn despite his refusal, on the advice of his counsel, to consent to the test. He contended that in that circumstance the withdrawal of the blood and the admission of the analysis in evidence denied him due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as specific guarantees of against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment; his right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment; and his right not to be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Appellate Department of the California Superior Court rejected these contentions and affirmed the conviction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.