A recent appellate decision has given a Columbia, Missouri man a new trial after it was determined that his blood was withdrawn without a warrant and later used as evidence in his jury trial.
A police officer from the City of Columbia was called to the scene and asked the man if he would consent to a preliminary breath test, to which the man gave a thumbs up sign. The man also allegedly indicated he had been drinking a little.
When the man got to the hospital, the officer placed the man under arrest for drinking while intoxicated. According to court records, before he could read him the implied consent law that requests a blood sample, the man became unresponsive to the officer and the medical staff treating him. The officer then instructed the nurse to take his blood.
The test indicated the man’s blood alcohol content (“BAC”) was .161. The officer later obtained a search warrant for the hospital’s own emergency records which included a toxicology report indicating the alcohol level of the man’s blood.
At trial, the man sought to suppress the evidence arguing it was obtained without consent or a warrant. The evidence was allowed, and he was convicted of second-degree assault in Boone County Circuit Court.
The charge: second-degree assault – driving a vehicle while intoxicated that resulted in an injury. It was alleged he ran a red light on a highway exit ramp where he ended up striking another car. A woman and her daughter in the other car were taken to a hospital with injuries. The man was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
The man appealed. The Missouri Court of Appeals stated: “The poisonous presence of the improperly admitted warrantless blood draw evidence was prejudicial beyond repair and, thus, outcome determinative. The evidence of the warrantless blood draw was the product of an illegal search. Accordingly, the trial court erred in overruling Mr. Osborn’s motion to suppress and permitting the admission of the BAC results relating to that illegal search.”
A new trial date will be set.