Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

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E.g., 09/22/2021
E.g., 09/22/2021
State v. Sisk, 238 N.C. App. 553 (Dec. 31, 2014)

In this habitual impaired driving case, the trial court did not err in admitting the defendant’s blood test results into evidence. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the officer’s failure to re-advise him of his implied consent rights before the blood draw violated both G.S. 20-16.2 and 20-139.1(b5). Distinguishing State v. Williams, __ N.C. App. __, 759 S.E.2d 350 (2014), the court noted that in this case the defendant—without any prompting—volunteered to submit to a blood test. The court concluded: “Because the prospect of Defendant submitting to a blood test originated with Defendant—as opposed to originating with [the officer]—we are satisfied that Defendant’s statutory right to be readvised of his implied consent rights was not triggered.”

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the right to have a witness present for blood alcohol testing performed under G.S. 20-16.2 applies to blood draws taken pursuant to a search warrant. The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that failure to allow a witness to be present for the blood draw violated his constitutional rights, holding that the defendant had no constitutional right to have a witness present for the execution of the search warrant.

Relying on State v. Drdak, 330 N.C. 587, 592-93 (1992), and State v. Davis, 142 N.C. App. 81 (2001), the court held that where an officer obtained a blood sample from the defendant pursuant to a search warrant after the defendant refused to submit to a breath test of his blood alcohol level, the results were admissible under G.S. 20-139.1(a) and the procedures for obtaining the blood sample did not have to comply with G.S. 20-16.2. 

In an impaired driving case involving a fatality, the trial court properly granted the defendant’s motion to suppress blood test results. The defendant was transported an intoxilyzer room where an officer read and gave the defendant a copy of his implied consent rights. The defendant signed the implied consent rights form acknowledging that he understood his rights. After thirty minutes, the officer, a certified chemical analyst, asked the defendant to submit to a chemical analysis of his breath, but the defendant refused. The officer then requested that a blood testing kit be brought to the office. Although the officer did not re-advise the defendant of his implied consent rights for the blood test, he gave the defendant a consent form for the testing, which the defendant signed. The defendant’s blood was then drawn. Challenging the trial court’s suppression ruling, the State argued that evidence of the results of the blood test was admissible because the defendant signed a consent form for the testing. The court rejected this argument, concluding that although the State could seek to administer a blood test after the defendant refused to take a breath test, it was required, pursuant to G.S. 20-16.2(a) and G.S. 20-139.1(b5), to re-advise the defendant of his implied consent rights before requesting he take a blood test. The court also rejected the State’s argument that any statutory violation was technical and not substantial and no prejudice occurred because the defendant had been advised of his implied consent rights as to the breath test less than an hour before the blood test. It reasoned: “A failure to advise cannot be deemed a mere technical and insubstantial violation.”

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