Q: I would like to file a motion to suppress blood draw evidence for illegal stop. I had been driving for less than a block
I did not swerve, forget a signal, speed or do anything illegal. They stopped me because I told my ex I was feeling suicidal. They immediately told me to get out of the car. I told them I was okay and just wanted to go out for lunch and was going to call the crisis line after I ate. They asked if I'd drank and I told them not since the night before. They then demanded field tests, I declined and told them I had medications and physical issues that make those difficult. They then told me they were arresting me for dui and refusal. I told them my medications can interfere with breath test but did agree to a blood test to not have the automatic suspension. I don't believe the stop and detention were legal in the first case. When can I file a motion to suppress or to dismiss on these grounds?
A: You can file a Motion to Suppress evidence. However, the "reason" you were pulled over you explained, was your ex apparently called 911 and explained that you were suicidal? That call gave officers "reasonable suspicion" that "if located while driving," your condition would be too "impaired" to be driving. Officers CAN NOT pull you off the street while you are driving unless you did SOMETHING in your car that gave the police authorization to stop your car. I wish you had given lawyers answering this question the "given reason" for pulling your car over. Without this information I can't opine as to the legality of the "reason" but I promise that it was NOT because you had been reported "irrational" by your ex.
Once your car was stopped, officers took a look at your eyes, your coordination or lack thereof; they listen to your voice, and if you appeared "fit to drive," then the officers were required to let you go! You'll be happy to know that the morning after (or sometimes the same hour) the officer had to ask a prosecutor's opinion on whether they had enough evidence to require you to take an "evidentiary test," whether they wanted breath, or blood. A "neutral and detached magistrate" was then presented with ALL the observations the officer made and COULD HAVE said, "no he's just upset and suicidal, that's not illegal, let him go!" But the JUDGE told the prosecutor that the cop had "enough," to require you to take a test. You refused to submit to a breath test but offered a blood test," but unfortunately, the law says that drivers can't "choose their test," but rather, "if the driver takes the offered test, he can then ask the officer to give the driver any additional test, if practicable." So because you refused to take the "offered test," you had no right to demand the officer give you a blood test.
So where does this lead you? Now the State has the following evidence to give a jury who will decide if you were "impaired to drive" on a given day:
1. The observations of your ex;
2. The officer's observations of your driving;
3. The officer's observations of you, once they pulled you over;
4. The fact that you refused the "offered" test.
You gave yourself a break when you refused the "offered test." This decision was a good way to deny officers a "snapshot" look at the amount of alcohol in your system. However, the Idaho Legislature in trying to out smart that otherwise "good decision," then passed a new law which AUTOMATICALLY suspends your "right to drive" for a year, whether you later go to trial and get a "NOT GUILTY" verdict from the jury! So now, even if you win your DUI trial, you won't be able to drive for an entire year!
THAT SUCKS for you! Good luck!
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