On Sunday, Colorado Springs police officer, David Rosenoff, was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Rosenoff was involved in a car accident in his personal vehicle. As part of the DUI investigation, Rosenoff agreed to submit to a blood test to determine his blood alcohol level. Rosenoff was taken to the hospital for the blood draw and was subsequently taken home by the arresting officer. After taking Rosenoff home, the arresting officer realized that Rosenoff’s blood sample was missing. On Monday, Rosenoff was arrested on charges of evidence tampering, which is a felony. Rosenoff, a 24 year veteran with the Colorado Springs police department, was placed on administrative leave.
Details are limited at this time as to the evidence the police had against Rosenoff at the time of the DUI arrest, but presumably, the police must have had more evidence than a simple accident. There is caselaw in Colorado that tells officers that an accident alone is not sufficient evidence to provide an officer with probable cause to believe a driver committed a DUI. This is an important law because, if an officer has no right to request a driver to take a chemical test of his or her blood or breath, then the results of that test cannot be used as evidence against the driver. When evidence cannot be used by the prosecution, the evidence has been “suppressed.”
For Rosenoff, even if the police did not have a right to request the blood test, this will not likely provide any legitimate defense to the evidence tampering charge because regardless of whether the blood sample was properly requested, it was nonethless evidence collected as part of the DUI investigation. The fact that evidence is suppressed does not change the fact that it is ultimately evidence. Suppression simply means that the evidence cannot be used against the defendant.