Monday, January 31, 2011

DUI Appeal of the Day - Attorney Advice Renders Illegal Search Admissible

In Anderson v. State of Alaska, --- P.3d ----, 2011 WL 255164 (Alaska App.) the driver was involved in an accident on a snowy day, where he struck and killed a pedestrian. The police transported the defendant to the station, and erroneously informed him that he was required to submit to drug and alcohol testing simply due to the fact that he had been in an accident. The defendant sought and obtained a consultation with an attorney, who advised the defendant to submit. The trial court found that they had illegally detained Anderson when they transported him to the police substation. However the trial judge concluded that Anderson's consultation with his attorney before providing the samples had insulated Anderson's consent from the officers' prior illegal conduct, and the consent was voluntary.

On appeal the appellate court agreed that the attorney's advice vitiated the illegality, and rendered the submission consensual:

The record thus shows that the police did not limit Anderson's time to consult with his attorney, and they allowed him to make other personal phone calls. There was an interval of approximately forty minutes between when the police first incorrectly asserted they had the legal authority to collect the blood and urine samples and when Anderson consented to provide the samples. Although this time interval was not great, the record supports Judge Swiderski's finding that Anderson had time to reflect on his decision to consent.

Interestingly, the court does not find that the attorney's advice to submit was patently incorrect:

The parties do not dispute that Butler is an experienced criminal defense attorney, and Anderson has not challenged the advice Butler gave him. Butler may have accurately advised Anderson that he was not required to provide blood and urine samples. But there were also significant advantages in having Anderson provide the samples if Anderson believed he was not impaired. Anderson had just hit and killed a pedestrian. It was in his interest to prove that he was not impaired at the time of the accident.

Perhaps because the court found that the defendants decision to submit might have been a calculated attempt towards exoneration, then the act of submission was considered voluntary. Perhaps if the defense attorney had admitted to his own erroneous understanding of the law, the result might have been different. At any rate, counsel should be extremely careful if they take a late-night call such as the above, to ensure that all possibilities are considered before advice is rendered.

Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!

No comments:

Blog Archive