High court upholds exclusion of DUI blood evidence in Elko case

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the decision by an Elko judge to throw out the blood test evidence in a felony DUI case.

The involuntary blood sample taken from Regis Quinteros in October 2011 was taken using Nevada’s implied consent law in effect at the time. But before the trial, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Missouri v. McNeely a warrantless DUI blood draw violated the 4th Amendment.

At a hearing in district court, the officer admitted he assumed Quinteros was driving the vehicle because the keys were in the ignition. But the officer who actually made the traffic stop was not available and the DUI officer admitted there was no direct evidence Quinteros was in physical control of the vehicle. The district judge ordered the blood evidence suppressed and the high court this week agreed saying the district judge correctly ruled the state failed to demonstrate the arresting officer had relied in good faith on the constitutionality of Nevada’s implied consent law. Without that determination, the Supreme Court ruled, the federal court ruling that implied consent laws are unconstitutional precludes using the blood evidence.


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