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Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966), was a decision by the United States Supreme Courtmarker, which held that a State may, over the suspect's protest, have a physician extract blood from a person suspected of drunken driving without violating the suspect' Fourth Amendment rights.


Armando Schmerber was hospitalized following an accident involving an automobile which he had apparently been driving. A police officer smelled liquor on his breath and noticed other symptoms of drunkenness at the accident scene and at the hospital, placed Schmerber under arrest, and informed him that he was entitled to counsel, that he could remain silent, and that anything he said would be used against him.

At the officer's direction a physician took a blood sample from Schmerber despite his refusal on advice of counsel to consent thereto. A report of the chemical analysis of the blood, which indicated intoxication, was admitted in evidence over objection at Schmerber's trial for driving while intoxicated. He was convicted and the conviction was affirmed by the appellate court which rejected his claims of denial of due process, of his privilege against self-incrimination, of his right to counsel, and of his right not to be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizure.

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