DUI/DWI Blood Test
Facing a charge of DUI or a related offense can be a daunting prospect. In New Jersey, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) can carry hefty penalties, including incarceration and license suspension. When you are potentially subject to serious consequences, you should enlist an experienced defense attorney who knows how to fight charges of DUI and other traffic violations. People in the New Brunswick area can seek guidance from Leon Matchin when they are facing prosecution.Protect Your Rights against a Prosecution for DUI/DWI
When a driver is suspected of driving under the influence, a machine called the Alcotest is often used to obtain a reading of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There are some instances, however, in which an officer will request an actual blood test to determine the BAC of a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated.
Blood tests are commonly requested when there has been a serious accident, and responding officers suspect that the driver may have been drunk. If the driver is in need of medical attention and is taken to the hospital, he or she may be unable to give a breath test, so officers must resort to taking a test of the driver’s blood. Since the officers did not have an opportunity to observe the driver prior to the accident, and the driver is unable to perform any of the standard field sobriety tests that are usually administered, a reading of the blood alcohol concentration taken directly from the driver’s blood may be the only evidence for a possible DWI charge.
Additionally, a blood test may be requested if an officer, through preliminary testing, suspects that a driver’s BAC may be extremely high. If the driver’s levels are so high that the officer believes he or she may need medical attention, the officer can have the driver transported to the hospital where the driver’s blood will be drawn. The officer can also request a separate blood test for prosecution purposes.
Under Missouri v. McNeely, the State generally has the burden of obtaining a warrant to draw blood, which requires showing probable cause. This decision held that the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement does not apply to drawing blood in routine DWI cases. Moreover, police officers may not use unreasonable force in obtaining a driver’s blood sample.
Drivers have the right to refuse a breath test to measure their blood alcohol concentration. However, if a driver refuses a breath test, he or she will be presumed to have been drunk and may face the same DUI sentencing penalties as if a blood sample had been drawn that was over the legal limit.
Since New Jersey law permits an officer with probable cause to obtain a blood sample from a driver suspected of DWI, any defense to a charge based solely on a driver’s BAC will most likely stem from arguing a lack of probable cause to request or obtain the driver’s blood sample and the resulting BAC reading. A skilled attorney can assess the facts of a case and determine if there is an argument to be made that an officer lacked probable cause to request a blood sample.Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney in the New Brunswick Area
The law surrounding the process of obtaining a driver’s blood for testing purposes can be difficult to navigate. It may be vital to have a dedicated advocate protecting your rights when you are facing a charge of DUI in New Brunswick or East Brunswick. Leon Matchin is a knowledgeable lawyer who also has served residents of communities across Monmouth, Middlesex, and Mercer Counties. Call us today at (732) 662-7658 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.