Every day, the police make arrests and collect evidence in violation of people's 4th Amendment rights which guarantee freedom from illegal search and seizure. However, most of these violations never see the light of day. The police are trained to write reports that cover up these violations. However, by digging deeper into the evidence, a skilled attorney can show these violations. In November 2021, Crawford Law Firm attorney Brett Hartman won a Motion to Suppress in Monterey County Superior Court, vindicating his client's 4th Amendment rights.
In People v. JR, our client was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (Vehicle Code Section 23152(f)Vehicle Code Section 23152(f)). Two independent witnesses called 911 to report that the client was weaving between lanes on Highway 101 in Monterey County. The client was pulled over by a CHP Sergeant, who observed signs that the client was impaired. The client admitted to using Xanax earlier in the day. The CHP Sergeant called a patrol officer to conduct a DUI investigation.
After the officer completed field sobriety testing and some questioning, the client was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of a drug. The client was then taken to a nearby hospital, where his blood was drawn (a search under the 4th Amendment). The DOJ report showed that his blood was positive for a compound similar to Xanax.
According to the CHP officer's report, the officer gave the standardized “implied consent” admonition at the scene. The officer wrote in his report that the client had agreed to a blood test. The Prosecutor also produced a “Consent to Draw Blood” form that was allegedly signed by the client at the hospital.
However, the officer's dashcam video told a different story. In fact, the officer did not read the standardized “implied consent” admonition. Instead, the officer simply told the client that he was under arrest for DUI, and that the officer was going to take him to the hospital to draw his blood. The dashcam video showed that the client did not consent to the blood draw.
Upon reviewing the dashcam video, Mr. Hartmann filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1538.5.
At the hearing, the officer initially testified to the same facts that he had put in his report. The officer also testified that the client signed the “consent form” at the hospital.
Mr. Hartmann then expertly cross-examined the officer. Mr. Hartmann showed the dashcam video and the officer agreed that the client did not, in fact, consent to the blood draw. Mr. Hartmann also got the officer to admit under oath that he was not actually sure whether the client signed the “consent form” because he never saw the client sign it.
After the officer's testimony, the Prosecutor asked the court to delay ruling on the motion, so that they could study the officer's testimony. The Prosecutor was so afraid of the cross-examination testimony that she asked her supervisor to have a meeting with Mr. Hartmann and the judge to discuss it.
Ultimately, the judge agreed with Mr. Hartmann that the blood draw violated his client's 4th Amendment rights. The judge found that the client did not consent to the blood draw because the officer never presented the client with the choice. The judge found that the officer coerced the client into providing the blood sample. Therefore, the judge excluded the blood test results from evidence in any potential trial.
Based on the Motion to Suppress win,the case was dismissed and the client avoided a DUI conviction.
If you have been arrested for DUI and provided a breath or blood sample, a skilled attorney may be able to have those test results thrown out. Call The Crawford Law Firm attorney for a free consultation.