Refusal Case

from John Grasso:

Members -

Attached is an interesting Decision of the RITT Appeals panel upholding the dismissal of a refusal because the police did not afford the motorist his right to a reasonable opportunity to be examined by a physician of his choosing immediately after his arrest.  Based on the facts set out in the Decision, the arresting officer wasted no time and the arrest appears to be typical.  The motorist asked for his examination after being read his rights at the scene then again after being read his rights at the station.  The officer allowed the motorist to call his attorney to arrange for his examination then released him an hour later after the bail commissioner released him.

“It is unreasonable to wait until the justice of the peace shows up for an arraignment before allowing the arrestee to exercise his or her right.  The Trial Magistrate held that when an arrestee requests a physician examination, the police have an obligation to afford that opportunity after processing.”

The facts in this case seem to me to be as immediate as practical under the circumstances.  Nevertheless, if these facts support this decision, then there is no way in hell that any DUI arrest by Providence Police can survive as long as the motorist asks for his private medical exam.  PPD always holds arrested persons overnight even if their lawyer is in the lobby jumping up and down and pressing his face up against the glass.

The AG appealed the magistrate’s decision and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take it further to allow the RISC to define “reasonable opportunity” and maybe “immediately.”