Articles Posted in Chemical Testing

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A New Jersey resident allegedly contracted MRSA after being forced to take a urine sample following her 2012 DUI arrest. She recently received $140,000 to settle her ensuing lawsuit against Ocean City, two police officers, Shore Medical Center, and two nurses. The case alleged illegal search and seizure, due process violations, malicious prosecution, negligence, conspiracy, excessive force, assault, informed consent, and battery.

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In the lawsuit, filed in New Jersey United District Court in July 2014, she claimed she was infected with the antibiotic and bacteria-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in July 2012 after being pulled over for DUI. She claimed that during her arrest, an Ocean City police officer attempted to administer several field sobriety tests. The driver claimed that she fell asleep in the car on the way to the police station, and the officer did not detect any odor of alcohol on her during the investigation or the ride to the police station.

The driver explained that she could not take a Breathalyzer due to her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She was then given 10 cups of water in an attempt to have her complete a urine test, but she was unable to urinate, the lawsuit said. She claimed that after being unable to provide a urine sample, she was taken to Shore Medical, where urine and blood samples were extracted without her consent. For the urine sample, nurses inserted a catheter, from which she claimed she contracted MRSA. An Ocean City police officer assisted with the catheterization procedure, leading to the infection, the case said.

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The Hawaii Supreme Court recently addressed the right of a DUI suspect to communicate and consult with counsel under Hawaii law. Following his DUI arrest, the defendant was affirmatively advised that he was not entitled to an attorney before submitting to any tests to determine his breath or blood alcohol concentration. The Hawaii Supreme Court held that the defendant was erroneously denied access to counsel, but under the facts of the case, his refusal to submit to testing was not subject to suppression.

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In June 2013, the defendant was stopped while driving west on Kailua Road by two Honolulu police officers for weaving between lanes. An officer informed the defendant why he had stopped him, and the defendant responded that he had consumed a few drinks with his friends. The officer detected an odor of alcohol emitting from the defendant’s breath and noticed that he was flushed. The other officer administered field sobriety testing to the defendant, and based on the results, he arrested the defendant and took him to the police station.

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The Colorado Supreme Court recently upheld the state’s expressed consent statute in three consolidated DUI cases in which warrantless blood draw evidence was suppressed by the trial court. The cases dealt with various elements of the expressed consent law.

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Colorado’s expressed consent statute states that any driver on Colorado roads automatically consents to take a breath or blood test when asked to do so by an officer with probable cause that the driver is intoxicated.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court recently held the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to secure a warrant before requiring its citizens to submit to a blood or urine test, meaning Minnesotans can now lawfully refuse such a search when law enforcement doesn’t have a warrant. The Minnesota ACLU heralded the decision.

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Late one evening in April 2012, an Owatonna police officer watched patrons leaving a bar at closing time. The officer saw a vehicle, which police later determined appellant Thompson was driving, jump the curb and then stop quickly before reversing and leaving the parking lot. As the vehicle turned onto the street outside the bar, it cut the corner short and crossed the center line. The officer initiated a traffic stop.

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