A woman who had been taken into custody in a DUI case in Tennessee had her blood drawn after a judge granted a warrant to do so. However, the defendant in the case had not been given a copy of that warrant. Therefore, a trial court ordered evidence related to the blood draw to be suppressed. This ruling was affirmed by an appeals court before the case went before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a good faith exception clause applied in the case as the blood draw was performed in an otherwise constitutional manner. It also said that the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act violated the Tennessee Constitution. In making its ruling, it also provided guidance as to how it should suppress evidence under the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Evidence should be suppressed when the state cannot show that the error was made in good faith and that it would not have harmed the defendant in any way. In the DUI case, the error was simply an oversight and did not prejudice the woman taken into custody. Since the court found that the error in this case was made in good faith, the lower court rulings were overturned. The case was then sent back to the trial court.
Those who are convicted of a DUI charge face penalties such as a mandatory license suspension or revocation in additon to mandatory jail time. However, it is possible to have a case dismissed or to negotiate a plea that may reduce or eliminate penalties related to the charge. An attorney may move to suppress evidence or challenge the legality of the traffic stop itself.