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North Carolina teen defends against underage drinking charge

When an alleged drunk driving accident results in injury to the driver, that alleged offender may be too injured to provide consent to a breath or blood alcohol test. Yet authorities may nevertheless obtain a sample while the individual is receiving medical treatment at a hospital. That unauthorized blood draw might potentially raise evidentiary issues.

This is the issue facing on 18-year-old man from Kannapolis, North Carolina. The teenage driver has been charged with several felony counts of driving under the influence. However, the evidence against the teenage driver is perhaps less extensive than other DUI criminal cases because his injuries prevented police from administering a field sobriety test. For that reason, an experienced criminal defense attorney might have some leverage in negotiating with prosecutors.

According to the police report, the teenage driver was traveling west from the Myrtle Beach area in a Nissan Sentra, near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and U.S. 17 Business. The teenager allegedly ran a red stoplight and was broadsided by a southbound Ford Excursion.

Police were called to the scene of the alleged DUI crash, where the teenager appeared injured by able to respond to questions. The teenager admitted that he had a few drinks earlier in the day, but clarified that it hadn't been that much. However, police wrote in their report that the teenager's eyes appeared red and somewhat glassy.

After the teenage driver learned that his 19-year-old friend, who had been a passenger in the Sentra, was pronounced dead at the crash site, he allegedly sobbed and admitted that the crash was his fault. Whether that response can be used against the teenager as an admission at his underage drinking trial remains to be seen.

Source:, "N.C. teen charged with three counts of felony DUI in fatal crash that killed passenger," Tonya Root, June 18, 2013