Defendant’s Blood Alcohol Content is Dangerously Low: Suspected Narcotic Involvement

Defendants who are arrested for drunk driving may sometimes exhibit conduct while in custody that is inconsistent with their blood alcohol content (BAC). The defendant may voluntarily submit to a breath test and show a very low reading, such as .02% or .05%, which is under the .08% legal limit in New Jersey. However, the defendant’s mental faculties and physical coordination may be profoundly affected such that experienced police officers reasonably believe that narcotics may be involved. The defendant may have trouble standing or walking. He or she may be unable to stay awake or be incoherent. When confronted with this factual scenario, the police will transport the defendant to a hospital or other suitable medical facility for blood testing. The police may also request a urine test. These proofs may be the only evidence available to prove that the defendant operated his or her motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. See State v. Tamburro, 68 N.J. 414 (1975).