July 10th, 2020
Louisiana v. Michael
Opinion Date: July 9, 2020
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
In June 2016, defendant Jason Michael drove his truck into a smaller vehicle on Louisiana Highway 44 in Ascension Parish and then fled the scene of the accident. He was found by police a few miles away. His vehicle was heavily damaged, and its debris was found at the scene of the crash. In addition to defendant, two other people were injured in the crash: Bree Lavigne and her minor son Lucas. The State charged defendant with two counts of first degree vehicular negligent injury, one count of hit-and-run driving, and one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Defendant moved to suppress the BAC results, alleging that the trooper misinformed him that under La. R.S. 32:666 he could not refuse the blood test because serious injury resulted from the crash and that defendant’s consent was therefore coerced. The district court denied the motion to suppress after a hearing. Defendant unsuccessfully sought supervisory review from the court of appeal. He appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court, contending the BAD blood draw had to be suppressed because he consented only after being threatened with criminal consequences if he refused. The Supreme Court affirmed, finding that exigent circumstances justified the warrantless BAC blood test.
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