DUI Accident – Can the Police Test Me for DUI?
Certainly, there may exist reasons for a law enforcement officer to request that you undergo a blood, urine or breath analysis if he or she observes you commit a traffic violation, especially if there was an accident with injuries. This is true even if the accident was not your fault.
Symptoms such as red, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, poor performance on your field sobriety evaluations, the smell of alcohol on your breath and your other physical manifestations at the time of your stop may provide circumstantial evidence of possible intoxication. These questions and field tests form “reasonable grounds” or “probable cause” for you to be subjected to the scientific blood, urine or breath testing. In most states, your submittal to such testing MUST be preceded by proper, timely and complete implied consent advisements.
In some states, this “reasonable grounds” or “probable cause” element has been specifically applied to vehicular homicide (vehicular manslaughter) statutes that purport to allow police to draw blood from every individual involved in a DUI-DWI fatality or serious injury crash.
That is, if you are involved in a serious accident, with either very significant damages, visible serious injuries to anyone, or someone has died, in these states the law enforcement officers can require or ask every driver involved in the collision to undergo the scientific testing of their blood, breath or urine based on the implied consent statutes.
However, the courts of some states have found that merely being in a serious accident or the fact that there has been a death in an accident does not amount by itself to enough reason for you to be forced to undergo such testing based on the implied consent statutes.
The Mississippi Supreme Court declared the law in that state unconstitutional since it did not require that an officer develop a good faith belief that the cause of death was based upon evidence of another driver’s impairment. In a similar case in Georgia, the Supreme Court of Georgia also found a necessity of gathering basic evidence to support the belief that impairment resulted from alcohol, drugs or some impairing substance, although a more recent case found that if there is any other evidence that a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a warrantless taking of your blood or urine is likely justified to protect the public.