In the case of Snell, the affidavit of probable cause read as follows:
in the early evening of July 7, 2012, when he lost control of his car, which then rolled over and off the road.
"Some of the underlying factual information supporting [the deputy's] conclusion that [Snell] had been driving the vehicle was essential to support issuance of the search warrant," the court wrote.
Last week, the Wyoming Supreme Court overturned that conviction, passing down a decision that local police are saying might have implications on how they deal with some DUI investigations moving forward.
The affidavit, they said, would lead a judge to believe that the deputy had found Snell at the scene of the accident.
Campbell County. That represented Snell's fourth DUI conviction in 10 years, a felony.
They also argued that the deputy's statements on the request were too "conclusory," claiming that it was never stated why it was believed that Snell had been driving the car.
In his trial, Snell admitted to driving the car, but said that he had gotten drunk after the crash, not before it.
Wyoming Supreme Court overturns felony DUI conviction
Snell, through his attorneys which include state public defender Diane Lozano and director of the Defender Nike Cortez Black Orange
He also claimed that the warrant used to draw his blood did not provide a sufficient basis for such a search. He argued that blood evidence should be excluded from the trial.
The Campbell County District Court did not grant the motion to suppress his blood alcohol level, and a jury convicted him of the felony DUI.
Samuel Snell was sentenced to two to four years in prison for a DUI conviction after a truck he was driving in July 2012 lost control and rolled off a rural county road in Nike Cortez Ultra Qs
First, probable cause must be shown that a reasonable person would expect that a crime was being or had been committed. Second, police must show there is reason to believe that evidence of that crime may be found in the place to be searched. If those criteria are met, a warrant can be legally granted.
Snell then failed a sobriety test, which he consented to. He refused a Breathalyzer test.
In a report written by the same deputy on the following day, a more thorough report was given as to why he believed Snell was in fact the driver. In their ruling, the court states that this report contained sufficient evidence for a legal blood draw.
At that point, one sheriff's deputy requested a search warrant to draw Snell's blood. The warrant was granted, and the man was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.21 percent about four hours after the crash.
Aid Program at the University of Wyoming Law School Diane Courselle argued that the affidavit requesting the warrant did not paint an accurate picture Nike Cortez Womens Amazon of what actually occurred leading to the deputies' contact with Snell.
"[Snell] ran away from a traffic crash in which his vehicle rolled on a county road and ended on its side on a property not belonging to the driver. Upon contact with the driver, I detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver's breath."
A man working in his yard witnessed the one car crash, but he was too far away to pass along any details about the person driving, who he had seen crawling out of the passenger side window and fleeing.
The Supreme Court accepted those arguments, saying that the warrant request must be taken at face value, not with the benefit of hindsight, and that the request for a warrant for Snell did not meet the requirement for a legal warrant.
"While the form may in most cases be adequate, when, as here, the facts are more complicated, an affiant may feel constrained to write within the lines provided and make his or her statements conclusory and lacking in the detail necessary for a judicial officer to evaluate the facts constituting probable cause. We believe that to have been the case here," the Supreme Court judgment states.
Still, because the original affidavit was insufficient, the blood evidence should not have been allowed at Snell's trial.
In the case of a DUI, law enforcement officers fill out an affidavit typically in a pre supplied template to be sent to a judge requesting a warrant for the blood draw. That affidavit must meet those probable cause requirements.
About two hours after the crash, Snell was found near his mother's house after police processed the car's license plates for the registered address. Snell was covered in cuts and bruises, which he initially claimed were the result of tending to horses. He denied crashing the car.
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