Several law enforcement departments in West Palm Beach will assure medical attention following a West Palm Beach DUI before an individual is taken to jail. If the individual has not been in an accident, but if they complain of having chest pains, or dizziness, or simply do not feel well, it is law enforcement’s responsibility to make sure that the person receives medical attention.
It is important for an experienced DUI lawyer to know if a person did not receive medical attention when they should have, because the failure to address medical concerns may deny a person the right to challenge evidence that they are impaired.
Role of a Law Enforcement on the Scene
If law enforcement officers come upon the scene and the person is bleeding or complaining about pain or an injury, that is a situation of automatic attention necessary. If the person is not behaving correctly, that is automatic. If the person has been in a serious accident, maybe they should be checked out regardless if they are bleeding or not, or complaining of any pain. A police officer will determine that a person needs medical attention if, after they take a breath test, it scores really high or where they think that there may be alcohol poisoning and they will take the person to the hospital to make sure that they are not going to die in a jail; they want to make sure that everyone is okay. This is often referred to as medical clearance.
If officers fail to take the person for medical attention following a West Palm Beach DUI, they are opening up a door for lawyers to argue it was not alcohol or chemical impairment; it was a physical impairment due to a medical condition they failed to address and take into account in their assessment as to whether or not the client was impaired. An Attorney wants a determination by medical personnel as to whether or not the client is sick or injured, versus being impaired by alcohol or drugs, because those two can mimic each other. If a person suffered a concussion, they could be impaired. If they hurt their leg or hyper extended a muscle in a car accident, it could affect the person’s ability to balance themselves.
Using Not Receiving Medical Attention as a Defense
An attorney would use the lack of medical attention following a West Palm Beach DUI as a way to question a proper investigation and try and use that to the client’s advantage. They could make a defense that they were hurt, injured or impaired by the injuries from the accident and not by alcohol or drugs. Failure to get medical attention opens a door to the argument that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether or not this is impairment from alcohol or drugs, or because this person injured from an accident or altercation.
Negative Impacts of Receiving Medical Attention
If they receive medical attention and are injured or hurt in such a way that they are held in the hospital for a period of observation, there is a provisional law that makes the breath test impractical or impossible because of the length of time that the person is spending in the hospital.
If the breath test becomes impractical or impossible because the emergency room was crowded and the doctor wants to keep the patient/client for several hours to observe, law enforcement has the right to skip the breath test procedure and ask for a blood test. The doctor might ask for a blood test to diagnose the person’s level of impairment to provide medical assistance to the person in the case that a blood test is not requested by the officer.
If the doctor requests blood and not the officer, the State Attorney’s office or the Prosecutor in West Palm Beach can then seek to gather the person’s medical records and use the medical records from their Hospital visit against them in Court. There are negative consequences for seeking medical attention following a West Palm Beach DUI. A person may get too much medical attention where it may be used against them in Court at a later date.