The son of an NBA hall-of-famer was accused of drunk driving in New York City early Friday morning. According to prosecutors, the son of former Knicks coach and NBA star Isiah Thomas was arrested around 3:30 a.m. Friday after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Prosecutors allege that the 25-year-old admitted to police that he had been drinking that night while disc jockeying at a Midtown Manhattan nightclub. They also allege that the young man had bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol.
However, 25-year-old’s defense attorney was quick to point out that his client passed field sobriety tests that checked his speech, balance and coordination. He also declined to take a Breathalyzer test, so there is no proof that the young man was intoxicated.
Some people refuse to take a Breathalyzer test because they think it will prevent them from getting into trouble; however, under New York’s implied consent law, a person suspected of drunk driving must submit to a formal breath test or face serious consequences.
The consequences of a Breathalyzer refusal include an automatic year-long revocation of the suspect’s driver’s license in addition to fines and an assumption in court that the suspect refused the testing because he or she was intoxicated.
Though the consequences of Breathalyzer refusal are severe, there are a few potential defenses that the suspect could raise at the DMV hearing.
First, the arresting officer must have had probable cause, or a justified reason, to pull the suspect over in the first place.
Next, the arresting officer must have made it clear during the arrest that refusing to take a Breathalyzer would result in an automatic license revocation.
Finally, the test must have been administered within two hours of the stop, and the suspect must have been given the opportunity to contact a defense lawyer before submitting to the test.
If any of these requirements were not met, the suspect may have a valid defense in the implied consent portion of the case. But remember, there is also the criminal charge to deal with as well.
Source: New York Daily News, “Isiah Thomas’ son Joshua arrested for DWI in Midtown Manhattan: sources,” Shayna Jacobs, April 4, 2014