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California Court Rejects Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Her Statement Following DUI Arrest


On July 18, 2019, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a California DUI case discussing whether the lower court should have granted the defendant’s motion to suppress statements she made after she was arrested for driving under the influence. Ultimately, the court concluded that each of the statements at issue were not suppressible, and were properly considered by the lower court.

According to the court’s opinion, two people were sitting at a stoplight on Manchester Boulevard in Los Angeles. As the light turned green, they saw the defendant’s vehicle approaching from behind at high speed. The defendant crashed into their car while going an estimated 65 to 70 miles per hour. The speed limit was 35 miles per hour.

After the accident, the passenger in the car got out and approached the unconscious defendant. A few moments later, the defendant woke up, but refused to give the passenger her identification. A witness to the accident tried to get the defendant’s identification, but he was met with hostility. The defendant was also hostile to the police.

The defendant was handcuffed and taken to the police station for chemical and field sobriety tests (FST). The defendant made a series of statements, explaining why she could not complete the FSTs. The defendant argued that the statements should be suppressed because they were taken in violation of her Fifth Amendment rights. The defendant argued that she made the statement without having been read her Miranda warnings.

The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the case proceeded to trial, where the defendant was found guilty. The court sentenced her to six years’ incarceration for the DUI, and four additional days for failing to submit to the chemical test. The defendant appealed the court’s denial of her motion to suppress, arguing that her statements were the result of custodial interrogation.

On appeal, the court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion. The court began by noting that voluntary statements were not the type that can be suppressed under the Fifth Amendment. Here, the court explained that the defendant’s statements were voluntary, and not given in response to any questions that were asked by the police. The court reasoned that an officer’s request for a person to take an FST or chemical test is not “custodial interrogation,” and does not require the Miranda warnings because it does not require a verbal response. For this reason, the court determined that the defendant’s statements were not suppressible.

Have You Been Arrested for a California DUI offense?

If you have recently been arrested for a California DUI crime, contact the experienced California criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Noonan. Attorney John Noonan is a veteran California DUI defense attorney with extensive experience handling even the most complex DUI cases. Whether it is in a pre-trial motion to suppress or at trial, Attorney Noonan is keenly familiar with California DUI laws, and puts that knowledge behind each of his client’s cases. To learn more about how Attorney Noonan can help you protect your freedom against the charges you are facing, call (925) 886-4281 to schedule a free consultation today.