State v. Villarreal, NO. PD–0306–14

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtALCALA, J.
Citation475 S.W.3d 784
Decision Date26 November 2014
Docket NumberNO. PD–0306–14
Parties The State of Texas v. David Villarreal, Appellee

475 S.W.3d 784

The State of Texas
v.
David Villarreal, Appellee

NO. PD–0306–14

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.

Delivered: November 26, 2014
Rehearing Granted Feb. 25, 2015
Opinion on Denial of Rehearing December 16, 2015


Fred Jimenez, Attorney at Law, Corpus Christi, TX, for Appellant.

Douglas K. Norman, Assistant District Attorney, Corpus Christi, TX, Lisa C. McMinn, State's Attorney, Austin, TX, for The State.

OPINION

ALCALA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which PRICE, WOMACK, JOHNSON, and COCHRAN, JJ., joined.

In this case, we are asked to decide whether the warrantless, nonconsensual drawing of blood from an individual suspected of driving while intoxicated, conducted pursuant to the implied-consent and mandatory-blood-draw provisions in the Texas Transportation Code, violates the Fourth Amendment. See U.S. CONST. amend. IV; TEX. TRANSP. CODE §§ 724.011(a), 724.012(b), 724.013. This question comes to us in the form of an interlocutory appeal filed by the State challenging the trial court's order granting a motion to suppress in favor of David Villarreal, appellee, who was arrested for felony DWI and subjected to warrantless blood-specimen collection over his objection pursuant to the provisions in the Code. In its petition for discretionary review, the State challenges the trial court's and the court of appeals's conclusion that the warrantless search of Villarreal's blood under statutory authority providing for implied consent and mandatory blood-specimen collection violated the Fourth Amendment. See State v. Villarreal, No. 13–13–00253–CR, 476 S.W.3d 45, 2014 WL 1257150 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi Jan. 23, 2014). It further challenges two specific aspects of the court of appeals's analysis by contending that the court erred in concluding that (1) the State forfeited its implied-consent argument on appeal by stipulating to the fact that Villarreal did not consent to the blood draw, and (2) the mandatory-blood-draw statute, by its terms, does not dispense with the warrant requirement.

In addressing the merits of the State's challenge to the trial court's ruling, we conclude that the warrantless, nonconsensual testing of a DWI suspect's blood does not categorically fall within any recognized exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, nor can it be justified under a general Fourth Amendment balancing test. Accordingly, we hold that the search in this case violated the Fourth Amendment. With respect to the State's specific complaints regarding the court of appeals's analysis, we conclude that, although the court of appeals erred by determining that the State forfeited its implied-consent argument on appeal through stipulation, remand is unnecessary in light of both the court of appeals's implicit rejection of that argument and our express rejection of that argument in our analysis today. We further conclude that the court of appeals erred to address the constitutionality of the mandatory-blood-draw statute and, in light of our holding in this case, we decline to review the State's complaint with respect to that matter. We affirm the trial court's ruling suppressing the blood-test results.

475 S.W.3d 788

I. Background

Applying the law to the undisputed facts, the court of appeals upheld the trial court's ruling granting the motion to suppress the results of Villarreal's blood test.

A. The Facts

One Saturday evening in 2012, Villarreal was stopped for a traffic violation. The officer who made the stop, Officer Preiss, observed that Villarreal had signs of intoxication, and he contacted another officer, Officer Williams, to conduct a DWI investigation. Upon arrival at the scene, Williams observed that Villarreal was exuding a strong odor of alcohol, was swaying back and forth, and had red, watery eyes and slurred speech. Williams requested that Villarreal perform standardized field sobriety tests, but he refused. Believing Villarreal was intoxicated, Williams arrested him on suspicion of DWI. Williams then gave Villarreal a written statutory warning requesting that he provide a blood specimen and advising him that, if he refused to provide a specimen, his refusal may be admissible in a subsequent prosecution and would result in the suspension or denial of his driver's license for not less than 180 days. Villarreal refused.

After a criminal-history check revealed that Villarreal had been convicted of DWI on several occasions, Williams transported him to a hospital and requested that a qualified technician draw his blood over his objection. Williams prepared a written report averring that he had probable cause to believe that Villarreal had committed the offense of DWI and that, based on reliable information possessed or received from a credible source, Villarreal had previously been convicted of or placed on community supervision for DWI on two or more occasions. The report stated that Williams was "invoking [his] authority under [Texas Transportation Code], Section 724.012(b), to require the suspect to submit to the taking of a specimen of the suspect's blood." See TEX. TRANSP. CODE § 724.012(b)(3)(B) (statute providing for mandatory-blood-specimen collection for person twice before convicted of DWI). The qualified technician drew Villarreal's blood, which, upon testing, revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of .16 grams of alcohol per hundred milliliters of blood.

B. The Trial Court Proceedings

Given his multiple prior convictions for DWI, Villarreal was indicted for felony DWI.1 He filed a written motion to suppress the results of his blood test. In his motion, Villarreal averred that there was no "deemed consent to the taking of a blood specimen."2 The trial court conducted

475 S.W.3d 789

an evidentiary hearing, at which Williams was the sole witness. Williams stated that he "could have" obtained a warrant, but believed he "did not statutorily have to" in light of the mandatory-blood-draw provision in the Code.3 He further stated that his decision to require the taking of the specimen was based solely on the statutory authorization and not on any emergency at the scene or the existence of exigent circumstances. Aside from Williams's testimony, the parties additionally stipulated that Villarreal's "blood was drawn without his consent and without a warrant."

After the close of evidence, Villarreal's attorney argued that the Supreme Court's recent decision in Missouri v. McNeely held that, in the absence of exigent circumstances, a DWI suspect's blood may not be drawn without a warrant, and he further argued that the federal Constitution overrides the Texas statute that authorizes a mandatory blood draw in certain situations. See Missouri v. McNeely, ––– U.S. ––––, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 185 L.Ed.2d 696 (2013) ; TEX. TRANSP. CODE § 724.012(b). The State's attorney disagreed that McNeely affected the validity of Texas's mandatory-blood-draw provision and, based on the fact that a portion of McNeely was a plurality opinion, she asserted that its holding did not necessarily disapprove of this type of mandatory statutory blood draw conducted pursuant to implied consent. After the attorneys' arguments, the trial court granted Villarreal's motion.

The State filed a motion asking the trial court to reconsider its ruling. In its motion, the State repeated its arguments interpreting the meaning of the McNeely decision. The State asserted that McNeely is generally inapplicable to situations involving a mandatory blood draw through implied consent in that McNeely addressed only exigent circumstances and did not address other Fourth Amendment exceptions. The State also asserted that McNeely included language signifying that the Supreme Court remains open to implied-consent laws as an alternative to a warrant. The State contended that the plurality portion of the McNeely opinion signified that "there appears to be a differently-constituted-five-vote block [sic] that remains open to a modified rule departing from the warrant requirement in circumstances other than a per se blood-alcohol exigency." It suggested that the Supreme Court's language contained "positive references" to implied-consent laws and "in no way disapproved of the States' carefully tailored implied consent schemes where only specified and limited situations authorized compelled blood draws after refusal," and when such searches are based upon probable cause.

The State's motion to reconsider additionally made three specific arguments, which are discussed more fully below, in support of its broader contention that a warrantless, nonconsensual search conducted pursuant to the statutory authority in the Transportation Code does not violate the Fourth Amendment: (1) Courts should uphold such a search under the consent exception to the warrant requirement, appearing in the form of a waiver obtained through implied consent; (2) courts should consider whether some other exception to the search-warrant requirement might apply, such as expansion of the automobile exception into an automobile-driver exception or application of the special-needs exception; and (3) courts should conduct a balancing of governmental and private interests and find that a warrantless search of a DWI suspect's blood is generally reasonable in light of...

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138 practice notes
  • State v. McGee, No. 19-1219
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 14, 2021
    ...trial court found no consent, the state did not meet the burden of showing an exception to warrant requirement); State v. Villarreal , 475 S.W.3d 784, 799 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) ("[A] ... necessary element of valid consent is the ability to limit or revoke it.").The state court cases involv......
  • Hazlip v. Davis, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-16-0607
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • September 27, 2017
    ...in the absence of a warrant or any applicable exception to the warrant requirement, violates the Fourth Amendment." State v. Villareal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 815 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014).Page 54 Although defense counsel filed a motion to suppress and challenged the admissibility of Camille Stafford......
  • Commonwealth v. Myers, No. 7 EAP 2016
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 19, 2017
    ...blood draw without any right to refuse ... does not fit within the consent exception to the warrant requirement."); State v. Villarreal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 805 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) ("[I]n the context of a nonconsensual, warrantless bodily search ... a statute providing for irrevocable implie......
  • State v. Yong Shik Won, No. SCWC–12–0000858.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • November 25, 2015
    ...based on a discretionary determination by a law-enforcement officer that there is probable cause of intoxication." State v. Villarreal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 810 (Tex.Crim.App.2014), reh'g granted (Feb. 25, 2015). Because the governmental interest when a search is at issue is intertwined with a c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
138 cases
  • State v. McGee, No. 19-1219
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 14, 2021
    ...trial court found no consent, the state did not meet the burden of showing an exception to warrant requirement); State v. Villarreal , 475 S.W.3d 784, 799 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) ("[A] ... necessary element of valid consent is the ability to limit or revoke it.").The state court cases involv......
  • Hazlip v. Davis, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-16-0607
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • September 27, 2017
    ...in the absence of a warrant or any applicable exception to the warrant requirement, violates the Fourth Amendment." State v. Villareal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 815 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014).Page 54 Although defense counsel filed a motion to suppress and challenged the admissibility of Camille Stafford......
  • Commonwealth v. Myers, No. 7 EAP 2016
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 19, 2017
    ...blood draw without any right to refuse ... does not fit within the consent exception to the warrant requirement."); State v. Villarreal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 805 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) ("[I]n the context of a nonconsensual, warrantless bodily search ... a statute providing for irrevocable implie......
  • State v. Yong Shik Won, No. SCWC–12–0000858.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • November 25, 2015
    ...based on a discretionary determination by a law-enforcement officer that there is probable cause of intoxication." State v. Villarreal, 475 S.W.3d 784, 810 (Tex.Crim.App.2014), reh'g granted (Feb. 25, 2015). Because the governmental interest when a search is at issue is intertwined with a c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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