Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona DUI case affirming the defendant’s conviction. The case required the court to determine if police were required to obtain a warrant before taking the defendant’s blood. Ultimately, because the defendant gave his consent for the blood draw, the court determined that no warrant was necessary.
Consent is one of the primary ways that law enforcement officers are able to take a motorist’s blood. Under the state and federal constitutions, police officers need to have a warrant before they can conduct a “search” of a person. Courts have held that a blood draw constitutes a search, and thus, police officers need to obtain a warrant before taking a blood sample. However, no warrant is necessary if a motorist provides their consent to the blood draw. And given the administrative penalties associated with refusing to comply with a request for a blood draw, many motorists end up consenting to a blood test.
Providing consent to an Arizona blood draw can raise several issues. Most importantly, consent must be validly given to be effective. In other words, police cannot coerce a motorist into giving their consent by making threats. Additionally, even if a motorist gives consent, they are allowed to change their minds and revoke consent at any time. If consent is revoked, then the police officers must go through the proper channels to obtain a warrant. Notably, the U.S. Supreme Court has recently issued some important decisions which made some significant changes to this area of the law.
The Facts of the Case
Back to the case at hand, the defendant was stopped at a red light as an officer approached. When the light turned green, the defendant crossed the intersection, changing lanes as he did so. The officer began to follow the defendant, who was swerving and speeding. The officer pulled the defendant over, and obtained consent for a blood draw. Officers tried to take the defendant’s blood twice without success, but on the third time, they were able to obtain a sample. At no time did the defendant ask the officers to stop. The results of the blood test indicated that the defendant had methamphetamine in his system.
On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction, holding that the results of the blood test were properly admitted into evidence. The court explained that police officers did not need a warrant because the defendant provided his consent, and never revoked it.
Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona DUI offense?
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona DUI offense, contact Attorney James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a preeminent Tempe DUI attorney with extensive experience handling all types of Arizona drunk driving cases. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Novak understands how the other side thinks and uses the knowledge to his clients’ advantage. To learn more about how Attorney James Novak can help you defend against the charges you face, call 480-413-1499 to schedule a free consultation today.