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Will blood test be suppressed in former Utah officer's DUI case?

A single vehicle accident involving a man and four children in February of this year led to a drunk driving charge against the former Utah sheriff's lieutenant ("Utah sheriff's lieutenant resigns after being charged with DUI," March 17, 2014). In May, he pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge. During his recently held pretrial conference, the trial previously scheduled for September 19 was canceled until a motion to suppress filed in August by his counsel can be heard.

According to the motion, the man's counsel is seeking to have the blood alcohol test conducted around the time of his arrest thrown out. It is alleged that the test was done without his consent and without a warrant. This would be a violation of his constitutional rights.

When a Utah Highway Patrol officer gave him the consent form for a blood draw, the former sheriff's lieutenant wrote on it that he did not consent to the blood test. His counsel contends that no warrant was obtained in lieu of consent. Further, it is claimed that coercion was used to obtain the blood sample later used for testing.

Regardless of the results of the test, if the blood was drawn illegally, any evidence obtained from the blood and subsequent test may not be used against him in court regarding the DUI charge. Under the United States Constitution, everyone has the right to be protected against an unlawful search and seizure. When procedures are not followed in order to protect an individual's constitutional rights, authorities do not have the right to use any evidence derived from the violation. This is one reason that criminal defense teams review every aspect of a person's contact with law enforcement officials from the first moment contact is made.

Source: stgeorgeutah.com, "Defense seeks to suppress evidence in former sheriff lieutenant's DUI case", Mori Kessler, Sept. 3, 2014

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