The New York State Senate has been busy this year passing legislation that could greatly expand the scope of DUI/DWI testing. Although the votes of the New York State Assembly are still out, it is evident that it is becoming even more important to know your rights and quickly contact an attorney – especially if you are involved in a serious crash in New York.
Under current law, law enforcement can decide whether or not to conduct chemical testing after an accident based on reasonable cause. Under the Senate’s newly passed bills, if a vehicle accident causes serious injury or death, chemical testing would be required in most circumstances, at the very least.
Chemical Test Required Based on “Reasonable Belief” if Serious Injury or Death
In March, the NY Senate passed Bill S-1446, sponsored by Senator Flanagan, which requires a chemical test whenever a vehicle accident causes serious injury or death and it is reasonably believed that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, rather than leaving the decision to the discretion of law enforcement, S-1446 mandates testing, which can be a breath, blood, or urine test. Moreover, the occurrence of an accident itself may be sufficient for establishing reasonable cause. If a driver refuses consent, law enforcement can obtain a warrant or court order.
Field Tests and Blood Alcohol Level Test Required If Serious Injury or Death
The Senate turned around in May and is attempting to expand DUI/DWI testing even further by passing Bill S-3769, sponsored by Senator Robach, which completely does away with both the “reasonable belief” requirement and the consent requirement if a vehicle accident results in serious physical injury or death. Under S-3769, even if a driver does not appear impaired, law enforcement can require any driver involved in such an accident to submit to field sobriety and blood alcohol tests at the scene. If a driver refuses to consent, the police report can include a presumption of guilt which can be used at trial. Finally, the bill requires such tests to be conducted at a hospital if the injuries are too severe to test at the scene.
What You Need to Know about DUI/DWI’s in New York
If you have been involved in an accident where serious injury or death occurred, you need to consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. Regardless of whether the Assembly passes S-1446 or S-3769, law enforcement is being pressured to crack down. If charged, navigating the process of a DUI/DWI case can be extremely complicated, and you need someone you can trust to help improve your situation.
If you live in the Bronx, Jason A. Steinberger is just a phone call away – 718-585-2833 — and he can be reached at any time to discuss your DUI/DWI charge. Jason will fight for your rights and keep you informed while addressing your questions and concerns. You won’t regret having him as a strong advocate to help you through a DUI/DWI case. Call today to get the help and support you need.