PA: Reasonableness inquiry always required for warrantless blood draw

Trial court failed to make a reasonableness inquiry of whether the warrantless search of defendant’s blood was objectively reasonable. Reversed and remanded. Commonwealth v. Trahey, 2018 PA Super 72, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 276 (Mar. 26, 2018):

However, the trial court failed to recognize that it was required to determine whether the warrantless search was objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. McNeely, supra. “Whether a Fourth Amendment violation has occurred turns on an objective assessment of the officer’s actions in light of the facts and circumstances confronting him at the time, not on the officer’s actual state of mind at the time the challenged action was taken.” Commonwealth v. Foglia, 2009 PA Super 138, 979 A.2d 357, 361 (Pa.Super. 2009) (en banc) (quoting Maryland v. Macon, 472 U.S. 463, 470-71, 105 S. Ct. 2778, 86 L. Ed. 2d 370 (1985)) (emphasis added, some citations omitted).

. . .

As a result, in this case, we find that the suppression court should have conducted an objective inquiry of the totality of the circumstances to determine whether exigent circumstances justified the officers’ warrantless testing of Appellee’s blood. Had the lower court properly assessed the facts and circumstances presented in this case, it would have found ample evidence to deny suppression of the blood evidence.

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