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Illinois Supreme Court Reverses Grant of DUI Defendant’s Suppression Motion

The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. residents from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures. This fall, the Illinois Supreme Court was tasked with deciding whether an alleged hospital blood draw violated an Illinois DUI defendant’s constitutional rights.

The defendant was charged with DUI following a motorcycle accident. He filed a motion to suppress the results of blood-alcohol testing on the ground that the blood draw performed at the hospital after his accident violated the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, he argued that the police officers forcibly placed him in an ambulance, despite his refusal of medical treatment. The motion further argued that the blood draw performed at the hospital was a search conducted without a warrant, without consent, and without exigent circumstances. The trial court granted defendant’s motion, and the appeals court affirmed. The state petitioned to the Illinois Supreme Court, which accepted the appeal and reversed.

The state argued on appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court that the lower court erred in holding that the defendant established a prima facie case that the alleged blood draw was an unreasonable search. The state high court agreed.

To make a prima facie case for suppression, the defendant had to establish that a search occurred and that it violated the Fourth Amendment. However, the court explained, the defendant failed to present evidence that the blood draw actually occurred. The defendant never testified that his blood was drawn at the hospital. Instead, he stated only that he declined consent. The officer testified that he saw nurses working on the defendant but didn’t know whether the defendant consented to a blood draw or whether a blood draw took place. The defendant did not call any witnesses from the hospital to confirm or deny. An envelope was sent to the trial court from the hospital, but it wasn’t opened because the parties never stipulated to its contents.

The appeals court held that the fact that both parties proceeded to argue the suppression motion as if a blood draw had occurred established that a search took place. The high court disagreed. It was the defendant’s burden to show a search occurred, and the defendant failed to meet this burden.

Even if a blood draw occurred, the court held that the defendant did not show it violated his Fourth Amendment rights because he did not prove that it was a government search. Again, no hospital employee testified. And the officer testified he didn’t even know whether a blood draw occurred. Thus, there was no evidence that the person who drew the defendant’s blood acted under the authority of the police.

For these reasons, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s granting of the motion to suppress and remanded.

If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, you should speak with a lawyer at your earliest convenience. Harvatin Law Offices, PC zealously represents residents throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending DUI offenses. To learn more, and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.

More Blog Posts:

Washington Supreme Court Holds Random Urine Testing of DUI Probationer is Constitutionally Sound, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2017.

State Appeals Court Upholds Polo Mogul’s DUI Manslaughter Conviction, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, October 2, 2017.

Ten-Year Court Battle Culminates in Probation for Riverdale Homicide Defendant, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, September 1, 2017.

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