The Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions protect people from unreasonable searches. This means, among other things, that a DUI suspect cannot be compelled to submit to a blood test absent a warrant. There are some exceptions to this rule, though, such as when exigent circumstances exist. Recently, a Pennsylvania court discussed what constitutes an adequate urgent situation to allow the warrant requirement to be set aside in a DUI case in which the defendant appealed his conviction. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is crucial to understand your rights, and you should speak to a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant drove his car onto train tracks, after which a train collided with the car and pushed it a quarter of a mile. When first responders arrived at the scene of the accident, the defendant was outside of his vehicle while his fiancé and their daughter were still inside the car. The fiancé was pronounced dead at the scene, and the defendant and his daughter were transported to the hospital for treatment.
It is reported that an officer that investigated the accident smelled marijuana coming from the car. Thus, he directed another officer to interview the defendant at the hospital and obtain a legal blood draw. When that officer arrived at the hospital, the defendant was restrained and drifting in and out of consciousness, and could not consent to a blood test. His blood was drawn prior to the officer’s arrival, though. Continue reading