A DUI is commonly shortened for “driving under the influence.” The way law enforcement officials can determine if someone is under the influence is by testing their blood alcohol level. In the state of New Jersey, if a person’s blood alcohol level is at .08% or above, they can be charged with a DUI. In most instances, the person who is being accused of drunk driving will be required to take a breath test. However, in certain situations, the driver suspected of the DUI has caused an accident and has been seriously injured. If he or she cannot submit to a breath test to determine the alcohol level, the police may use blood samples from the driver’s hospital visit in order to determine the BAC.
DUI and Breath Tests
A person driving his or her car cannot be over the legal alcohol consumption limit. A possible scenario might play out in this fashion: You are driving your car after a night of cocktails with friends. You have had 5 drinks in 4 hours and you weigh 160 pounds. Even if you do not feel intoxicated, the BAC levels in your body may be above the legal limit for your weight. While driving, you are pulled over by a police officer. He talks with you, asks you to step out of the car, and administers you field sobriety tests. If there is evidence of drunk driving, you will be arrested and taken to the police department to submit to a breathalyzer.
In most instances if a person involved in a DUI has injured himself or others by causing a motor vehicle accident stemming from drunk driving, the police will respond to the scene. If the drunk driver is not injured or unconscious, things will play out as explained in the above scenario and they will be required to take a breath test. This test will be given within a reasonable amount of time after the driver is arrested after being observed by police for a minimum of twenty minutes.
If the driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he or she was driving the vehicle that was involved in the accident, then he or she can be charged with driving under the influence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:4-50. However, sometimes the driver is severely injured and requires immediate medical attention before being brought to the police department for processing.
DUI and Injured Parties
In the event that you are the driver suspected of driving under the influence and you’re involved in an accident as a result, you may be brought to a hospital for medical treatment before being formally arrested for DWI. Rather than bringing you straight to the police station to submit to a breath test, you will receive medical attention and the police will obtain your blood alcohol content through a blood test administered while you’re at the hospital. If the BAC level is determined to be over the legal limit, then the injured driver can be charged with a DUI.
Your Legal Rights
If you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey and your blood alcohol concentration level was determined using a blood test due to injury, you want an attorney on your side. There are, at times, flaws in this type of testing that you will not be able to challenge on your own. A DUI conviction can lead to suspension of your driver’s license among other problems. Contact Villani & DeLuca today and speak with one of our DWI lawyers today. Serving Ocean County and Monmouth County, we are ready to answer any questions you may have.