DUI, etc. Clarke State Court. Before Judge Simpson.
Judgment vacated and case remanded.
Head, Thomas, Webb & Willis, J. Lee Webb, Jr., for appellant.
Carroll R. Chisholm, Jr., Solicitor-General, Keenan R. Howard, Assistant Solicitor-General, for appellee.
BRANCH, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Miller, J., concur.
Following a bench trial in Clarke County State Court, Cameron Davis was convicted of DUI less safe, DUI per se, and reckless driving. Davis now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of his state-administered blood alcohol test. Specifically, Davis contends that because his alleged consent to that test resulted solely from Georgia's implied consent notice, it was not freely and voluntarily given and the test therefore violated the Fourth Amendment and the related provision of the Georgia Constitution. For reasons
explained below, we vacate both the trial court's order denying Davis's motion to suppress and the judgment of conviction and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court of Georgia's opinion in Williams v. State, 296 Ga. 817 (771 S.E.2d 373) (2015).
The record shows that at the bench trial, the parties stipulated to the relevant facts. The stipulated facts show that at approximately 12:30 p.m. on October 7, 2012, an Athens police officer conducted a legal traffic stop of a car driven by Davis. The officer initiating the stop noticed that Davis had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech and smelled strongly of alcohol. The officer asked Davis to take an alcohol breath test, but Davis refused, saying that he would prefer a blood alcohol test. The officer then explained that Davis was not under arrest, asked Davis to participate in field sobriety tests, and explained [332 Ga.App. 489] to Davis what those tests would entail. Davis responded that he would " rather not" undergo the field sobriety tests. The officer then arrested Davis and read him the implied consent notice and again asked him to submit to a breath test. Davis reiterated that he would prefer a blood test. The officer read the implied consent notice to Davis a second time and asked Davis to undergo a blood test; Davis then agreed to the request.
The traffic stop had occurred in the parking lot of Athens Regional Medical Center, so the officer took Davis into the hospital where his blood was drawn. Chemical tests of the blood performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed that Davis had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. Davis was subsequently charged with DUI less safe, DUI per se, and reckless driving. Prior to trial, Davis filed a motion to suppress the results of the blood test, arguing that because his consent resulted solely from his being read the implied consent notice, it was not the voluntary consent required by the Fourth Amendment. Following a hearing on the motion to suppress, the trial court denied the same. The case proceeded to trial. After hearing the stipulated facts, the trial court found Davis guilty of all charges. Davis then filed this appeal.
Approximately six months after this appeal was docketed, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued its opinion in Williams. As in this case, the DUI defendant in Williams moved to suppress the results of his state-administered blood test, asserting that his alleged consent to that test had resulted solely from the implied consent notice. Thus, Williams contended that his consent was not given freely and voluntarily and that the test therefore violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on warrantless searches. The trial court denied Williams's motion, and Williams was thereafter convicted of DUI following a bench trial. Relying on the United States Supreme Court's [332 Ga.App. 490] opinion in Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. ___ (133 S.Ct. 1552, 185 L.Ed.2d 696) (2013), the Supreme Court of Georgia vacated both the order denying Williams's motion to suppress and the judgment of conviction and remanded the case for the trial court to address " whether Williams gave actual consent to the procuring and testing of his blood, which
would require the determination of the voluntariness of the consent under the totality of the circumstances." Williams, 296 Ga. ...