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Name: People v. Cruz
Case #: F074667
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/25/2019

Warrantless seizure of blood sample against defendant’s wishes did not violate the Fourth Amendment because he previously consented to searches and seizures and chemical testing of his blood as conditions of probation. Cruz was on probation with conditions that he (1) submit to search and seizure of his person, vehicle, and residence at the request of a peace officer at any time, with or without probable cause, and (2) submit to a chemical test of his blood, breath, or urine if arrested for specified DUI offenses. He was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence. When the officer learned Cruz was on probation and required to submit to a breath or blood test, the officer arranged to have Cruz’s blood drawn at a hospital over his objection. Cruz moved to suppress evidence of his blood-alcohol level, arguing that the forced blood draw violated the Fourth Amendment because he did not consent to it and the consequence of his refusal should have been prosecution for a probation violation. The trial court denied the motion and Cruz pleaded no contest to DUI offenses as part of a negotiated plea. On appeal he challenged the warrantless blood draw. Held: Affirmed. Invasions of the body, including nonconsensual extractions of blood, are searches entitled to the protections of the Fourth Amendment. It is unsettled whether California’s implied consent law or a general probation search condition authorizes a warrantless, nonconsensual blood draw. “Here, however, defendant was not merely subject to California’s implied consent law or a general probation search condition. . . . Rather, he expressly agreed that if he was arrested for drunk driving, he would not refuse to submit to a chemical test of his blood.” Because he consented to this testing, his challenge to the validity of the blood draw failed. The Court of Appeal disagreed with Cruz’s argument that the officer’s only option was to arrest him for violating probation because he was never told his refusal to submit to a blood test would result in a warrantless, forcible blood extraction.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: