If you have been charged with a DWI based on a blood sample that you were forced to provide, you need to know your rights. An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can help you do just that. A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can have long-lasting effects on your ability to drive or be insured. This is why it is vital to act quickly to develop a strong criminal defense.
Drunk driving is a big problem in New Jersey and throughout the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three traffic deaths involve a drunk driver. Between 2003 and 2012, approximately 1,816 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in New Jersey. While it is a serious issue, there are also cases in which an individual is unfairly convicted of a DWI based on shoddy evidence, such as a faulty blood test.
Prosecutors usually rely on a defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to establish that he or she was driving while intoxicated (DWI). The basic offense of a DWI in New Jersey consists of an individual operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
Under New Jersey’s implied consent laws, there are penalties for drivers who refuse to submit a breath sample, which is taken to determine the driver’s BAC. Essentially, the idea behind the implied consent law is that you have given implied consent to breath testing simply by driving on New Jersey roads. This law, however, does not extend to blood testing. As a result, there is no penalty for refusing to submit to a blood test in New Jersey.
New Jersey courts have taken a protective stand against forced blood draws. Under New Jersey law, police officers must have probable cause to suspect intoxication, and the blood draw must be conducted in a medically acceptable manner at a health care facility. In the case of State v. Ravotto, the court held that police could not use “excessive force” in obtaining a blood sample from a driver.
If you were forced to give a blood sample, that evidence may be excluded if proper protocol was not followed in obtaining the sample (i.e., it was not taken in a medically acceptable manner, or it was obtained by excessive force). Put another way, we will examine the specifics of the situation, and if we find that the blood sample was improperly obtained, we will file a motion to suppress that evidence. Since a judge cannot consider suppressed evidence, the charges against you may be reduced or dropped altogether.
Dealing with a DWI can be daunting, stressful, and costly. If you have been charged with a DWI, there is a lot to consider. You should not waste any time and reach out to a New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as possible. We can examine the circumstances of your case and advocate for your rights at every step of the way. Please note that we offer a free initial consultation for all of our clients. To discuss your case in more detail, call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.
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