Travis J. Tormey recently defended a client against drunk driving charges in Wayne, New Jersey. Mr. Tormey appeared in Wayne Municipal Court and successfully argued on behalf of the client to get the blood test results suppressed.
The client was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Although this would have been the client’s first DWI offense, he still faced significant DWI penalties for allegedly registering a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .26 percent. The potential penalties included driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year, stiff fines, alcohol education classes at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and required installation of an ignition interlock device on all his vehicles after he regained his license.
The client’s DWI charges came after he was involved in a single-vehicle crash into a guardrail. The accident split his face open above his left eye, requiring hospitalization and plastic surgery. The client’s injuries were so bad that he was not able to perform field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident; instead, law enforcement took him to the hospital. In most DWI cases, law enforcement needs to obtain a warrant in order to seize the driver’s blood for drug and alcohol testing. However, in this case, police did not get a warrant before drawing the client’s blood. Instead, they relied on “verbal” consent from the driver, who was disoriented due to his head injuries. Beyond that, police officers did not inform the client that he had the legal right to refuse blood testing.
When he appeared in Wayne Municipal Court, Mr. Tormey filed a motion to suppress the client’s blood test results in the case. Mr. Tormey argued that the police had illegally obtained the blood test results without a warrant. Mr. Tormey also argued that the consent exception to the warrant requirement did not apply because the client was in no shape to provide consent to anything. The municipal court judge agreed with Mr. Tormey and ordered that the blood test be suppressed. The prosecution subsequently dismissed the case. This was a huge win for the Tormey Law Firm.