DUI Blood Withdrawal Does Not Require Warrant
- July 13, 2014
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In State v. Sekhon, a single car fatal accident took place in which it was believed the defendant was driving under the influence (DUI). A passenger died when the vehicle exited the roadway and crashed. Responding officers detected an odor of alcoholic beverages on the driver, who admitted to having two drinks, but the officers had no opportunity to take breath samples as the driver was taken to the hospital by ambulance from the scene. At the hospital blood was drawn from Sundeep Sekhon without seeking a warrant and without the defendant’s consent. Although the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was only .062, the prosecution still intended to utilize the evidence to show defendant was drinking before the accident in the second-degree vehicular homicide case. There is a long history of cases relating to the need to preserve evidence creating exigent circumstances as balanced against the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure. Missouri v. NcNeely _______U.S. ________, ________, 133 S. Ct. 1552, 185 L. Ed. 2d 696 (2013) considered the premise that the speed with which a warrant may be obtained, exigent circumstances may no longer be presumed in DUI matters requiring a blood sample rather than breath sample. In State v. Adkins, 433 N.J. Super. 479 (App. Div. 2013), the Appellate Division held that the exclusionary rule does not require suppression of blood tests taken without a warrant in certain circumstances as long as the motor vehicle stop occurred before McNeely was decided. Adkins requires the that police have probable cause to believe that the driver was under the influence and that the police action in taking the blood samples occurred in good faith reliance on then existing law. Under the guidance of McNeely and Adkins the NJ Appellate Division held that the BAC results from Sekhon need not be suppressed. DUI charges carry serious and lasting consequences. If you are facing DUI charges, you should seek experienced defense counsel immediately to protect your rights. For more information regarding DUI, drug DUI, controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle, reckless driving or other serious municipal court matters in NJ visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.