STATE v. D.M.
Maximum Sentence: 364 days jail, $2,000.00 fine, 90 day loss of license
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: 48 hours jail, $500 fine, 90 day loss of license
Synopsis: Local police stumbled upon a serious accident scene where client appeared to be greviously injured. Client's car went off the road and struck a telephone pole. The pole was sheared in half and the client was partially ejected from the vehicle. The officer called for an ambulance and put Life Flight out of Central Maine Medical Center on alert for a possible emergency pickup.
Client was brought to a hospital where he was worked on by a local team of doctors. Miraculously, the client's injuries turned out to be fairly minor and he was released less than 24 hours later. Prior to the client's release from the hospital and while he was being attended to by the ER staff, the investigating officer ordered that a blood sample be taken and shipped off to the State Lab for testing.
In Maine, a police officer can order a blood draw if there is probable cause to believe death has or will occur. The blood draw is mandatory in those cases and is supported by statute and case law.
Result: We filed a motion to suppress the results of the blood test and argued to the court that there was no probable cause to believe death had or would occur for the purposes of the blood draw. A hearing was held where the only witness who testified was the original officer who stumbled upon the accident scene and ultimately ordered the blood draw. The Court agreed with our position and ordered that the blood test result was inadmissible and was the product of an illegal search. The State's best chance at obtaining a conviction evaporated as a result of the judge's decision. As a result, the State dismissed the OUI charge leaving the client's record intact and unmarred.