THE PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT ISSUED AN OPINION HOLDING THAT ACTUAL, VOLUNTARY CONSENT FOR BLOOD DRAWS MUST BE GIVEN BY AN ARRESTEE NOTWITHSTANDING THE EXISTENCE OF IMPLIED CONSENT STATUTES

The defendant was arrested for DUI based on an odor of alcohol, an open bottle of brandy in the vehicle, slurred speech and staggered gait. The officer felt defendant needed medical attention and called for a wagon, which transported him to the hospital. At the hospital, staff administered a drug rendering him unconscious prior to the arrival of a police officer. An officer arrived at the hospital and read defendant the required O’Connell Warnings (advising him of the consequences for a refusal), even though the defendant was unconscious and could not hear or respond to the officer. The officer then instructed a nurse to draw Myers’ blood. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the blood test results and won. This decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirms suppression of the blood test results, holding that an arrestee must provide actual, voluntary consent to a blood draw at the time testing is administered. Pennsylvania’s implied consent statute is not itself an exception to the warrant requirement, rather, it is a factor considered in the totality of the circumstances analysis regarding voluntary consent to a search.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE OPINIONCOMMONWEALTH v. MYERS, [J-94-2016]