Henry Ruggs – Former NFL Player’s Lawyer File Motion to Suppress Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Evidence Following Fatal Accident
Former NFL and Las Vegas wide receiver, Henry Ruggs, remains charged with two felony counts of Drunk Driving (DUI/DWI) resulting in death and faces up to 40 years in prison on those charges alone in addition to related criminal counts against him. His criminal defense lawyers, however, have filed a Motion to Suppress the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) evidence which the prosecution has obtained against him. Ruggs allegedly drove drunk at approximately 156 mph and collided with another vehicle which killed that occupant after the car burst into flames. In addition, Ruggs’ girlfriend sustained injuries due to the incident.
Why did Henry Ruggs’ lawyers file a Motion to Suppress
It appears that Ruggs’ criminal defense attorneys will argue that police didn’t have probable cause to obtain blood evidence from the hospital where Ruggs received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. Ruggs’ criminal defense lawyers have argued that the mere fact that Ruggs was involved in a fatal vehicle collision doesn’t itself give rise to probable cause to believe that he was drunk or under the in fluence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
If the Court granted the Motion to Suppress, how would it change the case against him?
If the Court were to grant this defense Motion, it would be difficult and most likely impossible for the Prosecution to convict Ruggs of any drunk driving related charge. Nevada’s Criminal Code provides an alternative charge, which doesn’t require the Prosecution to approve a specific blood alcohol content beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevada, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey makes a person guilty of drunk driving resulting in death or injury where a motorist causes another person to die or sustain substantial bodily harm, while the motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Nevada statute does not require the Prosecution to prove specific BAC. Police in the Ruggs’ case, however, did not give him any type of breathalyzer sobriety test. It is unclear if they conducted any investigation immediately following the incident, other than reconstructed the accident.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, to establish that Ruggs was impaired if the prosecution cannot present a witness who observed Ruggs following the incident. There is only video evidence which shows Ruggs visibly upset at the scene but provides no evidence as to his level of impairment, if any, in this case.
Why your criminal defense lawyer should consider a Motion to Suppress if you are charged with Drunk Driving
Motions to Suppress are often strongest defense tool in many drunk driving cases. Our criminal defense law firm represents clients charged with drunk driving offenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We frequently use these Motions to defend these cases.
It appears clear that Ruggs’ attorneys are not, at this point, willing to engage in any type of plea negotiations, but this could change if the Court should deny those Motions.
It is very important that if you’re charged with drunk driving, that your criminal defense attorney evaluate all pre-trial Motions and potential trial arguments. If pre-trial Motions aren’t successful, you may still have an argument at trial focused on if you were in actual control of the vehicle. These are obviously much weaker arguments. Control of the car or vehicle arguments are usually reserved for situations where drivers are found outside of the vehicle when police come upon the car. There are also situations where a defendant is asleep behind the wheel, and it is questionable as to whether the car was actually being operated at the time of the incident.
Like any person, Ruggs has a presumption of innocence. While obviously a minor issue given the criminal allegations, Ruggs has yet to face any suspension from NFL. A long league suspension and perhaps an indefinite ban is possible given these allegations.
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