2010-01-08 / Top Stories

NYPD Announces New DWI Testing Procedures

District Attorneys Richard A. Brown of Queens, Daniel Donovan of Staten Island, Charles Hynes of Brooklyn, Robert T. Johnson of the Bronx and Robert Morgenthau of Manhattan join - ed Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in announcing their agreement on new procedures aimed at expediting blood tests of suspected DWI drivers who refuse to undergo breath tests after a car crash resulting in death or serious injury. In cases where suspects refuse a breath test or refuse to have their blood tested for alcohol, a search warrant must be obtained before the suspect’s blood may be drawn.

To expedite the process, and to limit the suspect’s ability to lower his blood alcohol content through delay, the police commissioner and the five districts attorneys agreed that:

NYPD patrol supervisors may read the chemical testing statement (i.e., administer the refusal warnings) at the scene, rather than first transporting the suspect to an Intoxicated Driver Testing Unit (IDTU). There are only six IDTU sites in the city, two in Manhattan and one each in the other boroughs;

The arresting officer may remove the suspect directly to the IDTU location for testing, rather than go first to the nearest station house, which was the previous practice;

If portable breath test equipment is not already at scene, it does not have to be employed unless it would likely assist in establishing probable cause to arrest;

Police will notify the district attorney’s office at the earliest time possible to permit a quick application for a warrant;

A new Patrol Guide procedure will specifically address handling a crash with significant physical injuries and suspected driver intoxication.

Kelly said, “These changes streamline the process to better assure that a culpable drunken driver does not escape justice through delay. I want to commend the District Attorneys and their staffs, along with Katherine Lemire of my office, for addressing the issue so expeditiously.”

“The agreement reached among the City’s District Attorneys and the NYPD is an important step forward in our collective efforts to win the battle against drunk driving.

These new measures will expedite the analysis of breath and blood samples taken from suspected drunk drivers, and will help ensure that the most accurate and objective evidence of intoxication is available for prosecutors,” Brown added.

Donovan stated, “Police and prosecutors alike recognize that time is of the essence to ensure that alleged DWI offenders face justice. This collaborative effort between our District Attorneys and the NYPD will go a long way towards building the strongest possible cases and getting drunk drivers off our streets.”

“This is an important step towards improving the efficiency of this process in the interest of justice,” said Hynes. “I thank Commissioner Kelly and my fellow District Attorneys and their staffs for making this happen.”

“These procedures will help to ensure that regarding these most serious incidents all relevant evidence will be available to the court,” Johnson said.

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