STATE'S PETITION FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW FROM THE
THIRTEENTH COURT OF APPEALS GONZALES COUNTY
Keasler, Hervey, Richardson, Newell, and Walker, JJ., joined.
J., did not participate.
was charged with felony driving while intoxicated after the
State took a blood sample from him without a warrant and
while he was unconscious. The trial court granted his motion
to suppress his blood test results, and the court of appeals
affirmed. The State sought discretionary review to determine
whether (1) implied consent to a blood draw from an
unconscious driver is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,
and (2) exigent circumstances justified the warrantless blood
draw. We granted review of the first ground, and we hold that
implied consent is not a valid basis for a blood draw in the
circumstances presented here. We now grant review of the
second ground concerning exigent circumstances, vacate the
lower court's holding on that issue, and remand the case
to the court of appeals for reconsideration of it in light of
Mitchell v. Wisconsin, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 4400, 139
S.Ct. 2525 (2019).
fled the scene of a car wreck under circumstances
demonstrating that he had been driving while intoxicated.
Officers found him unresponsive in a nearby field and carried
him to a patrol car. Emergency medical responders tried to
revive him, but he remained unresponsive, and they took him
to the hospital. Sergeant Bethany McBride arrested Appellee
at the hospital and, although Appellee was unconscious, she
read the DWI statutory warnings to him and then ordered a
warrantless blood draw pursuant to Texas Transportation Code
Sections 724.011 and 724.014.
granted review to decide whether implied consent under
Section 724.014 is equivalent to voluntary consent as a
recognized exception to the warrant requirement. Is it
unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment for an officer to
rely on an unconscious driver's implied consent for a
blood draw when the unconsciousness prevents the officer from
seeking actual consent? We hold that irrevocable implied
consent is not free and voluntary and does not satisfy the
consent exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth
Amendment. Consequently, we affirm the judgment of the court
of appeals on this point.
Standard of Review
review a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress
under a bifurcated standard of review; fact findings are
reviewed for an abuse of discretion, and applications of law
are reviewed de novo. Turrubiate v. State,
399 S.W.3d 147, 150 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013). We will sustain
the trial court's application of the law if it is correct
on any applicable theory of law, and the record reasonably
supports the ruling. Valtierra v. State, 310 S.W.3d
442, 447-48 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010). The trial court's
findings in this case are undisputed, and we are presented
only with a legal issue.