Being stopped and/or arrested for a DUI can be very stressful and confusing. Most people do not know their rights, and whether they can refuse to cooperate with the police, or must cooperate completely. In previous articles, I’ve explained that, although you must provide your identification, registration and insurance documents, you are not required to talk to the police officers, or answer their questions, such as “where are you coming from, going, have you been drinking, etc…, and you’re not required to perform the Field Sobriety Tests ( one-leg stand, heel to toe walk, etc…).
But what if the police have arrested you and want you to give a breath, urine or blood sample for testing? Do you have to comply? What happens if you don’t? New Jersey law requires that you provide a breath sample, if you’re suspected of a DUI. If you refuse to provide the sample, you will be charged with refusal, which carries the same penalties, for the most part, as a DUI. And, if the officer has enough evidence of impairment, based upon Field Sobriety Tests or otherwise, you’ll also be charged with the DUI, so you’ll face penalties for the DUI and Refusal to provide a breath sample. In some circumstances, such as a third offense for DUI, it may be advisable to refuse both the Filed Sobriety Tests and Breath tests; however, those circumstances are limited.
Sometimes a suspected intoxicated driver may be injured in an accident, or for some other reason, other than the refusal of the driver, the officer cannot obtain a breath sample from the driver. In these cases they may request that the driver provide them with a blood or urine sample. Nothing requires you to voluntarily agree to provide a blood or urine sample, and I do not recommend that you agree to provide such a sample. If you refuse the officer has to attempt to obtain a warrant from a judge to make you provide one or both of those samples. Therefore unless the officer can show you a warrant requiring you to provide a blood or urine sample, do not provide the sample. There are arguments an attorney can use to fight the validity of the warrant, but you eliminate those arguments, if you volunteer to give the samples. Bottom line is don’t volunteer to give a blood or urine sample, unless the officer can show you a warrant.
The accuracy of blood and urine tests can also be challenged. Urine tests, in particular, are not very accurate. Some studies have shown that that more than 20 percent of the labs that process urine tests for the presence of drugs and alcohol have reported “false positives.” This means that about 20 percent of the labs reported the presence of drugs or alcohol in drug- or alcohol-free urine samples. Urine tests are produce a higher blood alcohol concentration than what is actually contained in the blood, and urine test results have to be adjusted to reflect the actual blood-alcohol.
Certain procedures must be followed as well, for the blood and urine test to be considered valid. The blood and urine must be obtained, stored and maintained in accordance with established practices. Failure of the medical personnel, officers or laboratories to follow these practices can cause the results to be invalid.
As you can see, DUI cases can be complicated and, if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, you should retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney. Call my office for a free consultation. I’ll explain the charges and how I can help you.
All the Best!