New Jersey Court Discusses Consent to Blood Tests in DWI Cases

DUI-related crashes are often more likely to be fatal than other accidents, and people that cause deadly DUI collisions may face significant charges and penalties. As with any other crime, however, the prosecution must prove each element of the charges the defendant faces, and if any evidence used to support the State’s case was obtained unlawfully, it might be precluded. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion addressing the grounds for precluding a blood test result in a case where the defendant argued that his arrest was unlawful and his blood sample was not given freely. If you are charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer promptly to discuss your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Crime

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision on a New Jersey morning in August 2014. A car that the defendant struck spun off the road and caught fire. One of the individuals in the car died due to his injuries, and the others were critically wounded. The defendant was taken to a hospital where his blood was drawn. The results of the test indicated he was under the influence of several illicit drugs. He was ultimately charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including vehicular homicide and assault by auto while under the influence of an intoxicating narcotic. He appealed, arguing in part that this arrest was unlawful and he did not voluntarily submit to a blood test, and therefore, his test results should have been precluded.

Grounds for Precluding a Blood Test

On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that his blood test was not voluntary because he was advised by the police that it was required, noting that the evidence made it clear that his consent was willingly and intelligently provided. Further, the court noted that while it was undisputed that the defendant was not advised he was under arrest before he consented to a blood draw, the defendant argued he was subject to a de facto arrest and, therefore, his consent was unlawful.

Under New Jersey law, in assessing whether de facto arrest occurred the court will examine whether a detention involved delays that are not connected to the legitimate investigation, the amount of humiliation and fear that the police activity caused, whether the person was transported from one location to another and whether the person was confined to a police car or handcuffed. In the subject case, the court found that the evidence did not support that a de facto arrest occurred. Thus, the defendant’s arrest was deemed lawful, and his conviction was affirmed.

Speak to a Trusted New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

A conviction for a DUI crime involving a fatality can result in significant fines and imprisonment, and it is important for anyone charged with such an offense to understand what New Jersey DUI penalties may be imposed. If you are accused of a DUI crime, the trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can develop persuasive arguments to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts surrounding your arrest. You can reach us via our form online or at 877-450-8301 to schedule a meeting.

Contact Information