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.

Instructions

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E.g., 10/19/2021
E.g., 10/19/2021

The petitioner appealed from his impaired driving conviction on the basis that the State violated the Fourth Amendment by withdrawing his blood while he was unconscious without a warrant following his arrest for impaired driving. A Wisconsin state statute permits such blood draws. The Wisconsin...

In three consolidated cases the Court held that while a warrantless breath test of a motorist lawfully arrested for drunk driving is permissible as a search incident to arrest, a warrantless blood draw is not. It concluded: “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests...

For the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the court reversed State v. McKenzie, 225 N.C. App. 208 (Jan. 15, 2013), which had held, over a dissent, that prosecuting the defendant for DWI violated double jeopardy where the defendant previously was subjected to a one-year...

Lee v. Gore, 365 N.C. 227 (Aug. 26, 2011)

Affirming a divided decision below, Lee v. Gore, 206 N.C. App. 374 (Aug. 17, 2010), the court held that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may not revoke driving privileges for a willful refusal to submit to chemical analysis absent receipt of an affidavit swearing that the refusal was indeed...

In this license revocation case arising from a DWI charge, the court concluded that the DMV did not have jurisdiction to revoke the petitioner’s drivers license because the affidavit submitted to the DMV showed that the arresting officer designated a blood test but that the petitioner refused a...

In this DWI case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress intoxilyzer results. The defendant argued that the trial court improperly concluded that the officer was not required, under G.S. 20-139.1(b5), to re-advise him of his implied consent rights before...

On remand from the Supreme Court, __ N.C. __, 814 S.E.2d 39 (June 8, 2018), of this DWI case, the Court of Appeals declined to exercise its discretion to grant the defendant’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review her claim that the trial court erred by denying her motion to dismiss. The...

For reasons discussed in the court’s opinion, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the State’s appeal of the defendant’s motion to suppress and that the superior court erred when it remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss.

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress in this DWI case. The defendant had argued that the arresting officer failed to comply with the requirements of G.S. 20-16.2. Specifically, the defendant asserted that he was not adequately informed of his rights under the...

In this DWI case, the district court properly dismissed the charges sua sponte. After the district court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress, the State appealed to superior court, which affirmed the district court’s pretrial indication and remanded. The State then moved to...

In this DWI case, the superior court properly dismissed the State’s notice of appeal from a district court ruling granting the defendant’s motion to suppress where the State’s notice of appeal failed to specify any basis for the appeal. Although such a notice may be sufficient for an appeal to...

The superior court erred by denying the State a de novo hearing from the district court’s preliminary determination that the defendant’s motion to suppress should be granted. At issue was whether G.S. 20-38.7(a) “requires more than a general objection by the State to the district court judge’s...

The superior court erred by denying the State a de novo hearing from the district court’s preliminary determination that the defendant’s motion to suppress should be granted. At issue was whether G.S. 20-38.7(a) “requires more than a general objection by the State to the district court judge’s...

(1) The DMV’s findings support its conclusion that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that Farrell was driving while impaired. During a traffic stop Farrell refused the officer’s request to take a breath test after being informed of his implied consent rights and the consequences of...

In this DWI case where the district court judge entered a preliminary determination that the results of the defendant’s blood alcohol test should be suppressed but the superior court reversed the preliminary determination on the State’s appeal and remanded to the district court for further...

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....

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the results of the chemical analysis of his breath. The defendant argued that the officer failed to comply with the statutory requirement of a 15 minute “observation period” prior to the administration of the test. The...

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...

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...

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s Knoll motion, in which the defendant argued that he was denied his right to communicate with counsel and friends. The defendant had several opportunities to call counsel and friends to observe him and help him obtain an independent...

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...

In this DWI case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s Knoll motion. The defendant argued that the magistrate violated his rights to a timely pretrial release by setting a $500 bond and holding him in jail for approximately three hours and 50 minutes. The court found...

The trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress breath test results from an Intoximeter EC/IR II. The trooper administered the first breath test, which returned a result of .10. When the trooper asked for a second sample, the defendant did not blow hard enough and the...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress intoxilyzer results. After arrest, the defendant was informed of his rights under G.S. 20-16.2(a) and elected to have a witness present. The defendant contacted his witness by phone and asked her to witness the intoxilyzer test...

Hoots v. Robertson, 214 N.C. App. 181 (Aug. 2, 2011)

The trial court erred by determining that a clerical error on a law enforcement officer’s affidavit under G.S. 20-16.2(d) divests the DMV of its authority to suspend the driving privileges of a person who has willfully refused to submit to a chemical analysis when charged with an implied consent...

(1) After accepting a defendant’s guilty plea to DWI, the district court had no authority to arrest judgment. (2) Once the defendant appealed to superior court from the district court’s judgment for a trial de novo, the superior court obtained jurisdiction over the charge and the superior court...

(1) In an appeal of a driver’s license revocation under G.S. 20-16.2(e), the court declined to consider the defendant’s argument that the officer lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop his vehicle. Reasonable and articulable suspicion for the stop is not relevant to determinations...

Over a dissent, the court held that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s Knoll motion in an impaired driving case in which the defendant was detained for almost 24 hours. The court upheld the trial court’s finding that an individual who appeared to take responsibility...

Steinkrause v. Tatum, 201 N.C. App. 289 (Dec. 8, 2009) aff’d, 364 N.C. 419 (Oct 8 2010)

On the facts, the trial judge did not err in concluding that the petitioner willfully refused to submit to a breath test.

Following Fowler, discussed above, and holding that G.S. 20-38.6(f) does not violate the defendant’s substantive due process, procedural due process or equal protection rights. Also finding no violation of the constitutional provision on separation of powers.

Following Fowler, discussed above, and dismissing as interlocutory the State’s appeal from a decision by the superior court indicating its agreement with the district court’s pretrial indication pursuant to G.S. 20-38.6(f).

Following State v. White, 84 N.C. App. 111 (1987), and holding that under the pre-December 1, 2006 version of G.S. 20-139.1(b3), the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of the lesser of the defendant’s sequential, consecutive Intoxilyzer results, even though the defendant...

State v. Fowler, 197 N.C. App. 1 (May. 19, 2009)

A defendant, charged with DWI, made a pretrial motion in district court under G.S. 20-38.6(a) alleging that there was no probable cause for his arrest. The district court entered a preliminary finding granting the motion under G.S. 20-38.6(f) and ordering dismissal of the charge. When the state...

The state’s notice of appeal to superior court of the district court’s preliminary notice of its intention to grant the defendant’s motion to suppress in a DWI case was properly perfected. The court cited Fowler (discussed above), and noted that the procedures in G.S. 15A-1432(b) are a...

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