For a lot of people, getting your first DUI can leave you crestfallen. That's because you were probably told or already knew that a DUI stays on your criminal record for 10 years. If you receive any subsequent DUIs within this time frame, they become felony charges, which can have an even more substantial effect on your life. (You can read more about felony DUIs in our February post.)
When America was first being formed, it was decided that the states should have the right to create their own laws. To this day, the same principle is true. Unfortunately though, this creates a problem for citizens today. That's because we are a very mobile society now, crossing from one state to another. When we visit these other states, we have to abide by their laws. But because not all laws are worded the same, you might find yourself trying to assert rights you might not have.
New York residents may be interested to hear that the Supreme Court ruled that DUI blood tests administered without a warrant may not be considered in court rulings. Furthermore, it decreed that police usually must attempt to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for suspects of drunk driving. The verdict stemmed from the case of a Missouri man who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant. The man was arrested in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, on a charge of drunk driving after a state trooper stopped his car for swerving and speeding. The man had two previous drunk driving convictions and refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. He failed numerous field sobriety tests, and the arresting officer said that his words were slurred and that he was very unsteady on his feet.
When a person is accused of driving under the influence, he or she needs a strong criminal defense to prevent a conviction. Sometimes additional charges are levied with the drunk driving charge, which may make a judge or jury less sympathetic to the defendant. In these cases, it is important that a criminal defense seeks to show that the accused was improperly charged or that there were extenuating circumstances.
While this little story comes to us from outside our Dutchess County area, it was too good not to bring to your attention. A couple weeks ago a Brooklyn man seems to have avoided drunk driving charges by claiming he only had one lung. Without enough lung capacity, police were unable to obtain a blood alcohol content reading on their breathalyzer. Police tried to administer the test repeatedly during the arrest, but none produced complete or positive results.