New Jersey Police Agencies rely on the breathalyzer to provide the evidence of a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the vast majority of cases. However, there will be occasions when the police will seek to obtain this vital evidence by taking a sample of the defendant’s blood for testing and analysis. Typically, the extraction of a blood sample from the body of the defendant in a drunk driving case will occur in the five situations:
1) Defendant Has Been Injured: Police Blood Samples
When the police respond to the scene of a motor vehicle accident, one of their primary responsibilities is to provide immediate care and seek emergency medical treatment for those who have been injured. During the course of their investigation, the police may develop evidence that leads them to believe that one of more of the operators of the motor vehicles involved in the accident may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the level of belief rises to probable cause, the police may effect the arrest of the operator for a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a). However, due to injuries sustained in the accident, the defendant may require immediate medical treatment at a hospital or other emergency medical facility. This fact prevents the police from having the defendant take a breath test within a reasonable period of time after operating the vehicle. Thus, when confronted with this situation, the police may request the attending medical staff to extract samples of the defendant’s blood for purposes of determining the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).