Idaho v. HalsethAnnotate this Case
In 2012, a Post Falls police officer was searching for a gray truck with stolen Washington license plates. He located and began to follow the truck, and he confirmed that the license plate on it was stolen. The truck stopped in a parking lot in Post Falls, and the officer told the driver, later identified as defendant Dennis Halseth, to stay in the vehicle. Defendant drove away, with the officer in pursuit. Defendant was later stopped and arrested in Washington by a Washington state trooper. The trooper asked Defendant to complete voluntary field sobriety tests, and Defendant refused. The trooper then transported Defendant to a hospital in Spokane, Washington, to have his blood drawn for evidentiary testing. Despite defendant's protests, the hospital technician drew blood samples from each of defendant’s arms. No search warrant was obtained prior to the blood draws. The State of Idaho charged defendant with several crimes including driving while under the influence of alcohol, which would be a felony because of his prior convictions. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence on the ground that he did not consent to the warrantless search. He did not contend that the trooper lacked probable cause to believe that he had been driving under the influence of alcohol. In light of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in "McNeely," the State did not argue that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream was an exigent circumstance justifying a warrantless search, nor did it argue that there were any other exigent circumstances justifying the search. The State argued that both Washington and Idaho had statutes providing that persons who drove on public roads impliedly consented to a test for alcohol concentration in their blood; and that Idaho case law held that there was no legal right to withdraw that implied consent; and that the implied consent included a blood draw. The district court granted the motion to suppress, and the State appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed.