Appeal from the District Court Arapahoe County District Court
Case No. 15CR212 Honorable F. Stephen Collins, Judge
Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant: George H. Brauchler,
District Attorney, Eighteenth Judicial District Jennifer
Gilbert, Deputy District Attorney Richard Orman, Senior
Deputy District Attorney Centennial, Colorado
Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee: Douglas K. Wilson, Public
Defender Elsa Archambault Lucienne Ohanian Centennial,
Attorneys for Amici Curiae Denver District Attorney's
Office and Colorado District Attorneys' Council: Mitchell
R. Morrissey, District Attorney, Second Judicial District
Katherine A. Hansen, Deputy District Attorney Denver,
JUSTICE EID concurs in the judgment, and CHIEF JUSTICE RICE
and JUSTICE COATS join in the concurrence in the judgment.
Colorado's Expressed Consent Statute provides that any
motorist who drives on the roads of the state has consented
to take a blood or breath test when requested to do so by a
law enforcement officer with probable cause to suspect the
motorist of driving under the influence. In this
interlocutory appeal, we review the trial court's ruling
that an advisement accurately informing the defendant,
William Paul Simpson, of this law amounted to coercion that
rendered his consent to a blood test involuntary and required
suppression of the test result.
By driving in Colorado, Simpson consented to the terms of the
Expressed Consent Statute, including its requirement that he
submit to a blood draw under the circumstances present here.
That prior statutory consent eliminated the need for the
trial court to assess the voluntariness of Simpson's
consent at the time of his interaction with law enforcement.
Simpson's prior statutory consent satisfies the consent
exception to the warrant requirement under the Fourth
Amendment. Therefore, the blood draw at issue here was
constitutional. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's
suppression of the blood-draw evidence.
Facts and Procedural History
On January 25, 2015, Officer Mason MacDonald saw a pickup
truck bounce off a curb four times, turn across a median, and
then oversteer into oncoming traffic while entering an
apartment complex parking lot. Officer MacDonald turned on
his overhead lights and followed the truck into the parking
lot. The truck initially stopped but then slowly crept
Eventually, the truck came to a full stop. Officer MacDonald
approached and found Simpson in the driver's seat.
Officer MacDonald immediately smelled alcohol on
Simpson's breath and saw that Simpson's eyes were red
and watery. He asked Simpson whether he had been drinking,
and Simpson replied in the affirmative. He asked Simpson to
get out of the truck, but Simpson was unable to comply
without assistance. Simpson was ultimately transported to the
hospital for medical attention.
At the hospital, Officer MacDonald read Simpson an expressed
consent advisement form titled "Colorado Express Consent
Law Information." In relevant part, the form stated:
1. By driving a motor vehicle in Colorado, you have agreed to
submit to a blood or breath test to determine the alcohol
content of your blood or breath if a police officer has
probable cause to believe you have been driving a motor
vehicle while under the influence of, or impaired by,
. . . .
5. A refusal to sign any release or consent forms required by
a person authorized to take or withdraw specimens is a