CALL 205.538.3340

The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd Logo Because There’s Hope After the Trial


After The Trial Blog

The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

US Supreme Court Update - Birchfield v. ND

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, June 24, 2016

Birchfield v. North Dakota

Bernard v. North Dakota

Beylund v. North Dakota


Summary: During a DUI stop, the Fourth Amendment allows police officers to administer a warrantless breath test as a search incident to arrest, but does not allow for warrantless blood tests as a search incident to arrest. As such, because a warrantless blood draw as a search incident to arrest is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, the State cannot criminalize the refusal to submit to warrantless blood draws as search incident to arrest under implied consent laws.



Every state has some form of “implied consent” law to help law enforcement investigate whether a driver is driving drunk. An “implied consent”  requires a driver to submit to blood-alcohol content (BAC) testing. If you refuse, you could be subject to administrative penalties. In Alabama, you could have your license suspended or be forced to install an Interlock device that tests your breath for alcohol when you start your car.


North Dakota’s implied consent law took things a step further: if you refused to submit to breath or blood testing, you could be prosecuted criminally. At the heart of these DUI cases are three questions: (1) Can police force you to submit to a warrantless breath test as a search incident to a DUI arrest? (2) Can police force you to submit to a warrantless blood draw as a search incident to a DUI arrest? (3) Can a state criminalize the refusal of either under its implied consent law?


Birchfield was convicted after refusing to submit to a warrantless blood test. Birchfield argued that the warrantless search violated the Fourth Amendment and that the Fourth Amendment prohibited criminalizing his refusal. Bernard was prosecuted for refusing to submit to a warrantless breath test and appealed the constitutionality of the search and criminal prosecution for refusing the breath test. Beylund consented to the blood draw after police told him he had to submit. Beylund appealed the voluntariness of his consent to the draw and the ND Supreme Court affirmed.



The Fourth Amendment allows police officers to conduct warrantless searches as incident to a lawful arrest. In the context of a DUI, the Court concluded that law enforcement may order you to submit to a breath test to check BAC as a lawful warrantless search incident to arrest. In the Court’s view, a breath test does not “implicate significant privacy concerns;” however, a blood test does implicate “significant privacy concerns” as it is obviously more intrusive to a suspect’s body. Because of the greater privacy concern and because breath testing is a less-intrusive alternative to check BAC, police cannot conduct a warrantless blood draw as a search incident to arrest. The Court left open the possibility that other warrant exceptions could apply.


The Court then applied this holding to the three cases at hand. For Birchfield, the Court said a warrantless draw of Birchfield’s blood would be unconstitutional, so he could not be prosecuted for refusing an unconstitutional search. For Bernard, the Court concluded that the police did not have to get a warrant to force him to submit to a breath test, so the warrantless search was proper under the Fourth Amendment, and thus, his prosecution was constitutional. For Beylund, the Court remanded the case back to the ND SC to determine whether his consent to the blood draw was voluntary given the inaccuracy of the police officer’s instruction.




Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg would have held that the Fourth Amendment prohibits both breath tests and blood draws as searches incident to lawful arrest. Justice Thomas, on the other hand, would have held that the Fourth Amendment allows both breath tests and blood draws as searches incident to lawful arrest.



If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


US Supreme Court Update - Utah v. Strieff

J.D. Lloyd - Thursday, June 23, 2016



The Salt Lake City PD received an anonymous tip regarding drug activity at a house. A detective watched the house and saw folks coming and leaving after only a short duration. To him, this evidenced drug activity going on inside. The detective observed Strieff leave the house. He followed Strieff and eventually stopped him. The detective asked for Strieff’s ID and found out that Strieff had an outstanding warrant on traffic tickets. He arrested Strieff and searched him as incident to that arrest. Of course, the detective finds meth and meth paraphernalia.


After being charged, Strieff moved to suppress the drug evidence on the grounds that the detective illegally detained him. The State conceded that the detective did not have reasonable suspicion to stop Strieff, but argued that the “existence of the warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the discovery of contraband.” A lower court affirmed denial of the suppression motion, but the Utah Supreme Court reversed.




The Court concluded that the exclusionary rule did not require suppression of this evidence because the discovery of the warranted attenuated the connection between the unconstitutional police actions and the discovery of the drugs.


Long ago, the Court created the “exclusionary rule” to exclude unlawfully seized evidence, also referred to as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The Court has stressed that it’s to be applied so long as its “deterrence benefits outweigh the societal costs.” There are several exceptions to this rule, one of which is called “attenuation doctrine” which provides that suppression isn’t proper when the connection between the unconstitutional action and the seized evidence is either “remote” or interrupted by some “intervening circumstance.” At question here is the latter concern: was the discovery of a valid warrant an event sufficient to break the chain between the unlawful stop and the discovery of the drugs.


The Court employs a three-part test to answer this question: (1) What is the temporal proximity between the illegal conduct and the discovery of evidence? (2) What are the intervening circumstances?   (3) What was the purpose of the conduct and how flagrant was it?


While the Court found that the short time between the constitutional violation and discovery of the evidence favored suppression, the last two facts strongly favored not applying the exclusionary rule. Under the second prong, the existence of a valid warrant was a significant intervening circumstance. Once he discovered it, he was under an obligation to arrest Strieff. With respect to the final prong, the Court didn’t believe the detective’s actions were flagrant or part of “systemic or recurrent police misconduct”: while the initial detention was “at most negligent,” his actions after the stop were “lawful.”


The dissents in this case are quite strong. Justice Kagan’s dissent states that this decision effectively invites police to make illegal stop.


My Thoughts


If you look at this case objectively, the Court’s decision makes sense: if a police officer happens to learn someone has an outstanding valid warrant for their arrest, that officer has the duty to arrest them. If an arrest is made pursuant to a lawful warrant, police may search the arrestee. Thus, the search extends from the valid warrant.


But if you look at this case subjectively, the Supreme Court has given police officers leeway to engage in unconstitutional behavior. There’s really no way around it. The Court has told officers who would rather investigate outside the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment, “Hey, we’ve got your back in the borderline cases.” Count me in Justice Kagan’s camp.



If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


Recent Posts


constitutional violations albertville alabama sixth amendment baldwin county alabama utah supreme court Easter breaking and entering criminal justice capital punishment burglary ake v oklahoma death penalty, death penalty clarence thomas betton v state alfonso morris street racing mcwilliams v dunn Lucky D Arcade lethal injection Joshua Reese dekalb county alabama aziz sayyed department of justice Tracie Todd fraud stoves v state moving violations Justice Sotomayor pinson alabama beylund v north dakota bailey v us kenneth eugene billups bernard v north dakota pruitt v state capital murder cullman alabama Alonzo Ephraim Marengo County Alabama abandonment dora alabama brendan dassey concealed carry fraudulent checks strickland v washington gun rights fake kidnapping, Pleasant Grove Alabama mountain brook alabama utah v strieff alabama criminal law roundup Benn v State warrior alabama felony assaults domestic abuse Jefferson County Alabama brian fredick lucas scotus negligent homicide state of arizona abduction second amendment Kay Ivey mount olive alabama legende v state springville alabama birmingham alabama operation bullseye levins v state decatur alabama madison alabama adnan syed, shooting Rule 32 prostitution sting capital offenses blountsville alabama birchfield v north dakota forced isolation SCOTUS, foley alabama parole the mannequin challenge Dylann Roof executions § 13A-3-23 Shonda Walker, bomb threat serial minor offenses calhoun county alabama Briarwood Presbyterian Church Neil Gorsuch asia mcclain criminal justice reform, hurst v florida robberies kidnapping Etowah County Alabama, huntsville alabama debtor prison warrantless blood draws shooting death eric sterling eugene lee jones v state stanley brent chapman LWOP hanceville alabama Alabaster alabama talladega superspeedway habeas corpus relief arson shelby county domestic violence fourth amendment editorial boaz alabama Glaze v State illegal gambling sarah koenig endangerment of a child blount county alabama alabama law enforcement agency sheffield v state smith v state russell calhoun criminal mischief Samuel Alito New York Times eighth amendment, battles v state unlawful manufacturing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 hoover alabama public assistance fraud huntsville economic growth Wesley Adam Whitworth tarrant alabama oneonta alabama keith v state south carolina mccalla alabama ex parte briseno apprendi v new jersey morgan county alabama attempted murder limestone county alabama US Supreme Court Update narcotics investigation rainbow city alabama theft maryland court of special appeals court of criminal appeals fairfield alabama, peyton pruitt Walker County Alabama kimberly alabama montgomery alabama pelham alabama sentencing law and policy blog summaries fort payne alabama 2016 election, tuscaloosa alabama car accident alabama supreme court eleventh circuit ruling Adamsville alabama drug possession, Woods v State benjamin todd acton crime of passion animal cruelty hoax destructive devices towles v state edwards v arizona cherokee county alabama home repair fraud making a murderer assault trussville alabama adger alabama Tommy Arthur court of criminal appeal releases theft of property brookside alabama West Alabama nicholas hawkins florence alabama mulga alabama social media Gardendale Alabama underage drinking banville v state hurst mandamus greene county alabama church robberies judicial override drug activity moore v texas christmas shooting self defense lauderdale county alabama marion county morris alabama road rage homicide rate identity theft Eutaw Alabama OJ Simpson Made in America jerry bohannon debit card skimming scams CCA update operation crackdown lethal injection drugs Ingmire v State christian guitierez homicide brady v maryland armed robbery drug trafficking, Hillary Clinton, ring v arizona Donald Trump, brendan dassey, steve avery, making a murderer, scotus, netflix hall v florida OJ Simpson Malone v State Kareem Dacar Gaymon Sardis Alabama department of justice, dothan alabama avondale alabama john earle redfearn IV v state constitutional law, mobile alabama Mike Hubbard bessemer alabama anniston alabama, lamar county nathan woods Guy Terrell Junior drug seizure heritage christian university gun control terell corey mcmullin mike gilotti abuse drug busts illegal gun carry aiding and abetting st clair county alabama npr state of alabama sexual assault drug smuggling Thomas Hardiman ferguson missouri pell city alabama heflin alabama murder Xavier Beasley embezzlement fultondale alabama Fentanyl alabama netflix baltimore city circuit court shoplifting court systems, steve avery gadsden alabama implied consent campbell v state midazolam William Pryor drug crimes texas § 13A-3-23(d) immunity hearing Stephen Breyer



These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among  other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Get Free Legal Advice  Contact us for a complimentary legal consultation

I am interested in scheduling a free legal consultation and receiving additional information.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Thank you, your  entry has been  received.

© 2017 The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd, LLC. All Rights Reserved. |


As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.