A judge applied that standard to a local case last week in what appears to be the first New Jersey case affected by the ruling. In that case, a judge ruled that blood-alcohol evidence against an Atlantic City man, who has been accused of driving drunk in relation to a fatal crash, is inadmissible.
Police did not obtain a warrant before drawing the man’s blood against his will after he was involved in a one-vehicle car accident in June 2011 in Absecon. The man’s cousin was killed in the accident.
A judge has now ruled that police had an opportunity to obtain a warrant by phone, by calling a judge from the accident scene, which means that the circumstances alone did not merit a forcible blood draw.
Ordering a blood draw in that case, the judge ruled, constituted an illegal search and seizure in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The state has said it will appeal this ruling.
This case illustrates the fact that police and prosecutors in New Jersey must respect the constitutional rights of DWI suspects and defendants. They are bound by a number of state and federal laws when collecting evidence and building a case, and when they overstep these boundaries, they may infringe on the rights of New Jersey residents. Defendants of DWI charges should seek criminal defense counsel in order to ensure that their rights are protected.
Source: Press of Atlantic City, “Alcohol test in 2011 Absecon fatal crash ruled inadmissible in wake of U.S. Supreme Court decision,” Linda Cohen, Sept. 26, 2013