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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of St. Louis area residents hoping to avoid extended legal entanglements are flocking to events this week that give low-level offenders a second chance to resolve outstanding warrants and avoid arrest.
Hundreds came to St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus Wednesday morning to receive vouchers they can use at participating courts. The vouchers and a nominal payment allow participants to schedule future court dates on their own rather than going to jail if stopped for an unrelated traffic violation.
Event organizer James Clark of the Better Family Life community group emphasizes that the program is not a "get out of jail free card." He says it helps keeps otherwise law-abiding citizens out of the penal system while also generating needed revenue for the 43 participating municipalities.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has ruled that police must usually try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for drunken-driving suspects.
The justices on Wednesday sided with a Missouri man who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant and found to have nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is generally not sufficient reason to jettison the requirement that police get a judge's approval before drawing a blood sample.
Missouri and the Obama administration were asking the court to endorse a blanket rule that would have allowed the tests without a warrant.