In DWI cases, the State’s evidence often includes the defendant’s statements and evidence of the defendant’s blood alcohol level. As such, if a defendant is able to prove that such evidence should be deemed inadmissible, it may greatly weaken the prosecution’s case, which increases the chance of obtaining a not guilty verdict. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed when statements obtained from a defendant and the results of a blood test should be suppressed in a case in which the defendant was charged with multiple DWI offenses following a fatal crash. If you are accused of DWI crimes in New Jersey, it is prudent to meet with a New Jersey DWI defense attorney to evaluate your available defenses.
It is reported that the defendant was involved in a car accident in December 2015, after which she was transported to the hospital. The other driver involved in the accident died from her injuries. The police arrived at the hospital to investigate the accident and found the defendant, who was alert, lying in a hospital bed without restraints. The officers informed her of her Miranda rights, and she both orally acknowledged and signed a card indicating that she was advised of her rights.
Allegedly, the defendant also completed a consent form permitting the police to obtain urine and blood samples. After the police obtained a blood sample, they left the hospital but returned after learning the other driver died. Shortly thereafter, another officer interviewed the defendant and observed that her speech was slurred and slow. When asked if she consumed alcohol, she became combative. The defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including DWI. She filed a motion to suppress the statements she made and the results of her chemical testing, which was denied. The defendant then appealed.
Grounds for Granting a Motion to Suppress
The trial court, relying on relevant case law, held that the defendant was not in custody when she was in the hospital, and therefore, the questioning by the officers did not constitute interrogation. Further, the court noted that the defendant was advised of her Miranda rights regardless, and did not indicate that she wanted to speak with an attorney or wished to remain silent.
Further, the judge explained that there were no intervening events between the initial waiver of the right to remain silent and the statements the defendant made when she was interviewed by the second officer that would require a second issuance of a Miranda warning. Finally, the court found that the defendant knowingly consented to allow the officers to obtain samples of her blood. As such, the appellate court found that the trial court ruled appropriately.
Confer with a Trusted New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney
If you are a resident of New Jersey currently charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to retain an assertive attorney. The trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are proficient at aiding criminal defendants in the pursuit of favorable outcomes, and we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us at 877-450-8301 or through the form online to set up a conference.