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Name: People v. Youn
Case #: B253401
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 08/15/2014

Suppression of evidence obtained by warrantless blood draw from drunk driving suspect is not required because officers reasonably relied on binding appellate precedent in seizing the evidence. Without obtaining a warrant, police Officer Olsen asked a nurse to draw blood from Youn, who had been taken to the hospital after causing an injury traffic accident. Blood tests revealed the presence of methamphetamine and cannabis. Youn’s motion to suppress the blood test evidence was denied and he pled no contest to driving under the influence causing injury (Veh. Code, § 23153, subd. (a)) as well as a drug misdemeanor (Health & Saf. Code, § 11550, subd. (a)). He appealed. Held: Affirmed. Warrantless searches are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment unless an exception, such as exigent circumstances, applies. When Youn’s blood was drawn in October 2011, California cases uniformly interpreted Schmerber v. California (1966) 384 U.S. 757, to allow warrantless blood draws in DUI cases based on the rate of dissipation of intoxicants in the bloodstream, constituting an exigent circumstance. In Missouri v. McNeely (2013) 133 S.Ct. 1552, the United States Supreme Court repudiated the California interpretation of Schmerber, finding the natural dissipation rate of intoxicants did not categorically support a finding of exigency sufficient to allow a warrantless blood test. Rather, a totality of the circumstances test must be applied. Although Youn’s case is governed by McNeely, suppression of the blood test results was not required because Officer Olsen acted in “objectively reasonable reliance” on then-binding California cases interpreting Schmerber. (Davis v. U.S. (2011) 131 S.Ct. 2419, 2423-2424.)