Legal Topics

Criminal law — DUI manslaughter — Search and seizure — Investigatory stop

Aug 10th, 2021 in News by admin

Criminal law — DUI manslaughter — Search and seizure — Investigatory stop — Defendant who fatally struck bicyclist with his vehicle was not seized for Fourth Amendment purposes when deputy moved defendant to side of road to calm him down and prevent him from throwing himself back on top of victim being worked on by EMS where deputy was not investigating crash at time and did not question defendant about crash or his level of impairment — Deputy’s actions were reasonable community caretaking function — Deputy’s subjective thought that he wanted to keep defendant on scene for crash investigation did not result in seizure where thought was not conveyed to defendant — If moving defendant to side of road was seizure, seizure was justified by reasonable suspicion that defendant was driver, inferred from totality of circumstances — Deputy response to defendant affirming that defendant needed to fill out police report, did not result in seizure; but, if it did, deputy had reasonable suspicion warranting seizure at that time based on defendant’s spontaneous admission that he had “run somebody over…today” — Blood draw — Agent had probable cause to order blood draw where eyewitness observed defendant drinking and stumbling in bar and driving dangerously and crashing thereafter, deputies observed that defendant had multiple indicia of impairment, and crash caused death of victim — Determination of extent to which defendant was at fault in accident was not prerequisite to blood draw — Exigent circumstances permitted warrantless blood draw where crash resulting in death occurred at night in midst of street party that caused significant delays in processing scene, and preparation of affidavit and obtaining warrant at night would have resulted in additional delay in obtaining blood draw — No basis to suppress field sobriety exercises to which defendant consented and which were performed after probable cause for blood draw was established — Seizure of beer bottle from defendant’s vehicle was lawful where defendant authorized deputies to enter vehicle to retrieve his phone and ID, and bottle was in open view in vehicle — Motion to suppress denied