Submitted: March 7, 2019
Defendant's Motion to Suppress - DENIED.
Jeffrev J Clark, Judge.
11th day of March 2019, having considered
Defendant Nicolai Tugultschinow's (hereinafter
"Defendant's") motion to suppress, it appears
Defendant is charged with fourth offense driving a vehicle
while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, failure to
have insurance identification in his possession, and careless
driving. These charges followed his single-car accident near
Cheswold on October 4, 2018.
Defendant moves to suppress toxicology results of a blood
test taken while he was in Kent General hospital after the
accident. In his motion, he attacks the search warrant
authorizing the seizure of his blood. Specifically, he
alleges that the affidavit of probable cause does not recite
facts sufficient to establish probable cause that he drove
under the influence at the time of the accident.
affidavit of probable cause recites the following relevant
facts in support of the warrant: (1) the Defendant had glassy
eyes at the hospital upon first contact with the officer; (2)
the Defendant told the officer at the hospital that "he
believed he was intoxicated and should not be driving;"
(3) the Defendant smelled strongly of alcohol; (4) the
Defendant admitted he drank two beers; and (5) the Defendant
refused to consent to a portable breath test while in the
State must secure a warrant to justify a blood draw absent
consent or exigent circumstances. An affidavit submitted in
support of a search warrant application must set forth facts
within its four corners that are sufficient for a neutral
magistrate to conclude that probable cause existed based upon
the totality of the circumstances. In evaluating the
sufficiency of a warrant, this Court is required to give
"great deference" to a magistrate's
determination of probable cause and the review should not
"take the form of a de novo
review." The Court, however, must determine whether
the magistrate's decision "reflects a proper
analysis of the totality of the
Furthermore, a review of an affidavit of probable cause is
subject to "much less rigorous standards than those
governing the admissibility of evidence at trial...
" The Delaware Supreme Court has
"eschewed a 'hyper technical' approach to
reviewing a search warrant affidavit." Unlike in a
challenge of a warrantless seizure, in a motion to suppress
that challenges a search warrant's legality, the
defendant bears the burden of proving that the challenged
search or seizure was unlawful.
Here, under the totality of the circumstances, the
magistrate's probable cause finding was justified by the
facts recited in the affidavit. In fact, the incriminating
facts recited in the probable cause affidavit significantly
exceed those recited in an affidavit reviewed by the Delaware
Supreme Court in Lambert v. State. There, in
the same context as the case at hand, the Supreme Court found
a search warrant affidavit to be sufficient because it
recited that there was an accident, the defendant exhibited a
moderate odor of alcohol, and the defendant had blood shot
and watery eyes. In the case at hand, those same facts are
present. In addition, according to the officer, this
Defendant admitted to the officer that he was intoxicated,
admitted he drank beer, and refused to submit to a portable
breath test. Under the totality of the circumstances, these
facts adequately support the magistrate's finding that
probable cause existed to believe Defendant was under the
influence of alcohol. As a consequence, the State lawfully
seized and tested his blood.
Defendant Nicolai Tugultschinow's motion to suppress is
Flonnory v. State, 109 A.3d
1060, 1065 (Del. 2015). Lambertv. State, 110
A.3d 1253, 1255 ...