HI: No PC shown for blood search warrant; no alcohol smell and disorientation was likely from head trauma

The state did not attempt to exhaust any possibilities that defendant’s disorientation wasn’t caused by likely head trauma because there was no probable cause otherwise that defendant had consumed alcohol. The search warrant for blood should not have issued. State v. Hewitt, 2021 Haw. App. LEXIS 34 (Feb. 16, 2021):

Officer Nacino did not testify that he detected an odor similar to that of an alcoholic beverage on Hewitt’s breath or body. There was no evidence that empty or open containers of liquor, or a bar or restaurant tab or other receipt evidencing the recent consumption of alcohol, were found in the cab of Cyrus Hewitt’s truck, or with Cyrina Hewitt’s identification card. Hewitt’s apparent disorientation could have been explained by a concussion (as evidenced by Hewitt’s significant head trauma). Although she knew who she was, she did not know where she was. There was no evidence that Officer Nacino attempted to determine if Hewitt was oriented to time (as one would to attempt to diagnose or rule out a concussion). Hewitt’s disorientation could also have been the result of prescription medication administered to her in the hospital emergency room. Under the totality of these circumstances, it would not have been unreasonable for a judge to require more information before issuing a warrant for a blood draw. There was no evidence that Officer Nacino, Officer Sugata, Sergeant Rose, or any other police officer attempted to contact a judge to obtain a warrant before requesting the blood draw. We hold that the State failed to adequately develop the record to demonstrate the existence of exigent circumstances that would have justified Officer Nacino requesting a warrantless blood draw. The district court erred in denying Hewitt’s motion to suppress the blood test results.

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