H. Marden Superior Court Justice
the court is defendant's motion to suppress evidence of a
blood sample obtained from the defendant on the basis that
any consent given by the defendant was not in fact
voluntarily given, was the result of duress or coercion,
expressed or implied, and was otherwise obtained without a
warrant in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights.
motion hearing, it was stipulated by the parties that on
December 21, 2015, a police officer had probable cause to
believe the defendant was operating a motor vehicle while
under the influence of an intoxicant. It was further
stipulated that a blood sample was taken without a warrant
and there were no exigent circumstances. Finally, it was
stipulated that the defendant agreed to submit to a blood
test after being read the Maine implied consent law. In
support of defendant's motion, she argues the findings of
Birchfield et al. v. North Dakota, 579 U.S.___, 136
S.Ct. 2160, (2016)
officer with the Augusta Police Department was called to the
parking lot at Hannaford on December 21 at 6:10 PM where he
found an intoxicated female attempting to operate a motor
vehicle. He noted the vehicle had pulled out of a parking
space and he identified the defendant. He noted that her eyes
were glassy, she had slurred speech and she presented an odor
of an alcoholic drink. At the time the officer attempted to
arrest the defendant, she grabbed a pill bottle and put the
contents in her mouth. At that point, the officer sent for a
Rescue Team and she was taken to the hospital.
emergency procedures were taken by hospital staff and the
defendant was put in a room, the officer met with her. The
officer testified that the defendant was calm at the
hospital. He advised her that he thought she was attempting
to operate a vehicle while under the influence. He asked the
defendant to submit to a blood draw to determine the presence
of alcohol in her blood. She signed a medical waiver form.
titled "Law Enforcement Officer's Report Relating to
Implied Consent" was admitted as a State's exhibit.
Relevant to defendant's motion to suppress, reference was
made to the third sentence in paragraph number 3 of the form
which reads: "If you are convicted of operating while
under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, your
failure to submit to a chemical test will be considered an
aggravating factor at sentencing, which in addition to other
penalties, will subject you to a mandatory minimum period
of incarceration." (emphasis supplied).
not disputed that the defendant was in the custody of the
officer both at the scene and in the hospital. While he had
removed the handcuffs from the defendant at the scene upon
the arrival of Rescue, it was clear that the defendant was
not free to leave the hospital without the officer's
v. North Dakota, a decision of the United States Supreme
Court, dated June 23, 2016, addresses the issue as follows:
In the past, the typical penalty for noncompliance was
suspension or revocation of the motorist's license. The
cases now before us involve laws that go beyond that and make
it a crime for a motorist to refuse to be tested after being
lawfully arrested for driving while impaired. The question
presented is whether such laws violate the Fourth
Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches.
579 U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 2160, (2016). The Supreme Court has
joined for its decision the cases of Danny Birchfield,
petitioner v. North Dakota, docket 14- 1468; William
Robert Bernard Jr., petitioner, v. Minnesota, No.
14-1470; and Steve Michael Beylund, petitioner v.
Director of North Dakota Dept. of Transp., No. 14-1507.
Birchfield case, a State trooper arrested Mr.
Birchfield for driving while impaired, gave the usual
Miranda warnings, and advised him of his '
obligation under North Dakota law to undergo the BAC testing
by a blood test. The officer further informed him, as North
Dakota law requires, that refusing to take the test would
expose him to criminal penalties as described by the court.
On his conditional plea, Birchfield argued that the Fourth
Amendment prohibited criminalizing his refusal to submit to
Bernard matter, the officers arrested Mr. Bernard
for driving while impaired. At the police station, the
officers read him Minnesota's implied consent advisory,
which, like North Dakota's, informs motorists that it is
a crime under State law to refuse to submit to a legally
required BAC test. Bernard refused to take a breath test.
Beylund case, the officer arrested Mr. Beylund for
driving while impaired and took him to a nearby hospital.
There he read the defendant North Dakota's implied
consent advisory, informing him that a test refusal in these
circumstances is itself a crime. Unlike Birchfield and
Bernard, Beylund agreed to have his blood drawn and analyzed.
United States Supreme Court specifically granted
certiorari in all three cases and consolidated them
for argument in order to decide whether the motorists
lawfully arrested for drunk driving may be convicted of a
crime or otherwise penalized for ...