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Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Expressed Consent Statute

The Colorado Supreme Court recently upheld the state’s expressed consent statute in three consolidated DUI cases in which warrantless blood draw evidence was suppressed by the trial court. The cases dealt with various elements of the expressed consent law.

Colorado’s expressed consent statute states that any driver on Colorado roads automatically consents to take a breath or blood test when asked to do so by an officer with probable cause that the driver is intoxicated.

In one case, the trial court ruled that an admonition informing the defendant of the expressed consent statute constituted coercion that made the defendant’s consent involuntary, requiring the suppression of the test. There, an officer observed the defendant drive his truck into a curb four times and then steer into oncoming traffic. He readily admitted he was drunk and could not even manage to climb out of the truck when the officer ordered him to do so. At the hospital, he signed his name on the wrong portion of the consent form for a blood test. His blood-alcohol content (BAC) was five times the legal limit.

At the motions hearing before the lower court, the driver argued he was too intoxicated to consent to a test. The lower court judge ruled the officer was coercive and, per the driver’s motion, suppressed the test.

The state supreme court disagreed. The court reasoned that by driving in Colorado, the driver had expressly consented to the statute’s requirement that any person who is dead or unconscious shall be tested to determine their BAC. The court held that the defendant’s statutory consent was sufficient to surmount the Fourth Amendment under the consent exception to the warrant requirement; therefore, the blood test was constitutional. The court reversed the trial court’s ruling.

In another case, the Colorado Supreme Court examined whether a warrantless blood draw conducted on an unconscious driver pursuant to Colorado’s Expressed Consent Statute (“the Statute”) violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches.  The state high court likewise concluded that the driver’s prior statutory consent qualified as an exception to the warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment. Thus, the blood draw was constitutional, and the court reversed the trial court order suppressing the blood draw evidence.

In a third case, the Colorado Supreme Court examined whether the prosecution’s use of a defendant’s refusal to consent to blood alcohol testing as evidence of guilt at a trial for drunk driving violated the Fourth Amendment. The state high court held that the use of such a refusal did not impermissibly interfere with the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. Therefore, the supreme court concluded that the use of such a refusal was constitutionally sound. Thus, the state supreme court affirmed the judgment of the district court.

If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation to people in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses and representing drivers with revoked licenses before the Illinois Secretary of State. To learn more, and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.

More Blog Posts:

Kansas Supreme Court Holds Officer Lacked Reasonable Suspicion to Stop DUI Defendant Based on “Power Braking,” Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, May 1, 2017.

Issues With Breathalyzer Means Thousands of Oklahoma DUI Cases Dismissed, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, April 3, 2017.

State Supreme Court Holds Double Jeopardy Claims Can Be Raised for the First Time on Appeal, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, April 3, 2017.

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