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Taylor v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

April 16, 2019

RYAN TAYLOR
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

          FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CHESTERFIELD COUNTY Frederick G. Rockwell, III, Judge

          Jaclyn Murphy Goad (Gordon, Dodson, Gordon & Rowlett, on brief), for appellant.

          Alice Anne Lloyd, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

          Present: Judges Humphreys, Petty and Chafin Argued at Richmond, Virginia

          OPINION

          WILLIAM G. PETTY JUDGE

         Ryan Taylor was convicted of driving under the influence, third offense, in violation of Code § 18.2-266. Before trial, Taylor filed a motion to suppress the results of a warrantless seizure of a sample of his blood, referred to in the trial court as the blood draw. The motion was denied, and Taylor was subsequently convicted. On appeal, Taylor first argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the warrantless blood draw. Secondly, Taylor argues that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of driving under the influence, third offense. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         Background

         We view the facts in the light most favorable to the prevailing party below, granting to it the benefit of any reasonable inferences; we review issues of law de novo. Hall v. Commonwealth, 55 Va.App. 451, 453 (2009).

         Trooper William Boelt of the Virginia State Police was traveling southbound on Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County. The speed limit on that portion of Interstate 95 was 60 miles per hour, and the trooper was passed by a car traveling at 82 miles per hour. Trooper Boelt initiated a stop of the car; Taylor was the driver. Trooper Boelt noticed the smell of alcohol and marijuana coming from the car. Taylor admitted that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana "earlier." Trooper Boelt asked Taylor to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. Taylor agreed and, as a result of his performance, was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

         Because Taylor admitted to using both alcohol and marijuana, Trooper Boelt transported Taylor to the hospital for a blood draw. At the hospital, Trooper Boelt "read [Taylor] implied consent" from a card. Although the card was not admitted into evidence, Trooper Boelt agreed with defense counsel on cross-examination that he "informed [Taylor] that he could receive some sanction, some criminal sanction, if he did not submit to the blood draw." Taylor stated that he understood implied consent and based on that he agreed to allow a sample of his blood to be withdrawn.

         After Taylor's blood was drawn, it was transported to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis. The certificate of analysis issued after the examination of the sample reflected a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .128% by weight by volume. At the time of the offense, Taylor had previously been convicted and sentenced for two DUIs.

         Taylor filed a motion to suppress the results of the blood sample, alleging that a search warrant was required to obtain the sample and that any consent he gave was obtained by unconstitutional coercion. The trial court denied that motion, and the case proceeded to trial, where the trial court found Taylor guilty of DUI, third offense.

         Analysis

         1. ...


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