Published on:

Arizona Court Upholds DUI Conviction Despite Invalid Consent to a Blood Draw

The protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibit the police from subjecting a person to an unreasonable search or seizure. In DUI cases, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures has been interpreted to prevent the police from subjecting a person to a blood test without a warrant, unless the person consents to the test. Typically, this means that the results of any blood test taken without a warrant or valid consent would be suppressed.

There are exceptions to the rule, however, as shown in a recent case in which the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a DUI conviction of a woman regardless of the fact that her blood test was not voluntary, on the basis that the police believed they were acting in good faith. Even though the decision is not precedential outside of Arizona, cases that interpret a person’s rights with regards to chemical testing continue to affect the landscape of DUI law throughout the country. If you are charged with DUI in Illinois, it is prudent to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss what evidence the State may be able to use against you.

The Defendant’s Blood Test

The defendant was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The arresting officer read the defendant a form that stated that under Arizona law, she was required to submit to a blood test. The defendant then submitted to testing. She was subsequently charged with aggravated DUI. Prior to trial, she moved to have the results of the blood test suppressed on the grounds that her consent was coerced. Her motion was denied and she was convicted of aggravated DUI, after which she appealed.

It is reported that on appeal, the court noted that the manner in which the arresting officer advised the defendant of her rights with regard to blood testing did not comport with the applicable standard, which prohibited an officer from obtaining coerced consent by stating the police have the right to a blood test without a warrant. Regardless, the court deemed the results of the blood test admissible based on the good-faith exception. In other words, the court found that because the arresting officer believed he was acting in accordance with the law, the blood draw was not improper. As such, the court upheld the defendant’s conviction.

Good Faith Exception for Warrantless Blood Draws in Illinois

Similar to Arizona, in People v. Harrison, the Illinois courts held that a good-faith exception to a warrantless blood draw obtained without valid consent precluded suppression of the results of a blood test in a DUI case. The Harrison court found that the pertinent question in determining whether the good-faith exception should apply is whether the officer would have known the search was illegal based on the circumstances as a whole. As the laws regarding chemical testing continue to change, it is likely the State will continue to assert that warrantless blood tests are valid based on the arresting officer’s understanding of legal precedent at the time the test was taken.

Speak with a Capable Illinois DUI Attorney to Discuss Your Case

Citizens are protected by law from unreasonable search and seizure, including warrantless blood tests. If you are charged with a DUI based on a blood test for which you did not consent, you should speak with a capable Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your rights and potential defenses under the law. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC will work tirelessly to try and preclude any evidence that should not be admitted in your case in an effort to protect your liberties.  You can reach Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Nebraska Supreme Court Rules Evidence of a Refusal to Submit to a Warrantless Blood Test is Admissible to Show Guilt of DUI, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, October 27, 2018.