Legal Question in Criminal Law in Michigan

A person is in a traffic accident. Taken to a hospital, released the next day. Nothing spoken about blood work. No police contact or report, statement given. 7 months later a document shows up in their mail stating they are being sited for a DUI.

What rights does this person have? If any.

Asked on 7/12/11, 8:11 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy Klisz Klisz Law Office, PLLC

They have all rights afforded criminal defendants in Michigan. Certainly, the facts and test results are the key here. I would reccomend consulting with a local, experienced attorney ASAP. Tim Klisz.

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Answered on 7/12/11, 10:23 am
Neil O'Brien Eaton County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Normally, your medical information is confidential. But most privacy / privilege / confidentiality laws are creatures of statute, and the legislature can tweak those laws. Here, there is a limited exception to the medical records privilege in drunk driving cases where there are accidents. In those cases, if the person is hospitalized and there is a blood test for alcohol/drug content done by the hospital "for medical purposes", then the State can send a letter to the hospital citing that statute and get a copy of the results for use in a prosecution. This does not apply if the police asked the hospital people to do the blood draw or testing -- it must all be done by the medical people for medical reasons. But there are also times when a hospitalized suspect might have blood drawn through a court order (search warrant), which is independent of the hospital testing. In either case, some delay may result from the testing process (likely police/search warrant testing through a police crime lab since hospital tests are done "stat"), or there was delay in police getting access to the hospital lab report because of bureaucratic delays.

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Answered on 7/12/11, 11:01 am

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