If you are hospitalized after an auto accident in which police believe you were driving while intoxicated, then a judge may issue a warrant to test your blood for traces of alcohol or drugs shortly after the crash. Such blood draws are typically administered at the hospital, and people already coping with severe injuries may also have to confront serious DWI charges.

Recently, a man was charged with DWI after being flown by medical helicopter to a hospital in Atlantic City. The man suffered injuries to his head when his vehicle crashed into the seawall in Stone Harbor. The force of the collision reportedly pushed the bulkhead a couple of feet into the sand dune, and police say the man’s head was bleeding when he was found behind the wheel. An airbag apparently deployed, but the driver’s head is believed to have hit the windshield.

In addition to the DWI charge, the man is facing citations for failing to wear a seat belt and careless driving.

While blood tests are often used to prosecute drunk driving charges, these tests are not always an accurate gauge of a person’s ability to drive or actual blood-alcohol content. Blood tests have to be properly administered and formulated, and the blood samples have to be carefully stored. A mistake in the process can render a blood-alcohol test invalid, and flawed tests proffered as evidence of intoxication should be suppressed.

Additionally, if a driver accused of DWI has been seriously injured in a crash, then he or she may appear intoxicated when that isn’t the case. To ensure that police errors and false perceptions don’t result in a DWI conviction, accused individuals should speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Source: Cape May Herald, “Stone Harbor Police Respond to Motor Vehicle Accident,” May 8, 2014