STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. DONNA JONES A-0793-13T1We granted the State leave to appeal from an order that suppressed the results of a blood sample taken without a warrant prior to Missouri v. McNeely, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1552, 185 L. Ed. 2d 696 (2013), and now reverse. Defendant caused a multiple vehicle accident, resulting in personal injuries that required hospitalization. Emergency personnel took approximately thirty minutes to extricate the unconscious defendant from her vehicle and the police investigation took several hours.
It is undisputed that the blood sample was obtained consistent with New Jersey law that existed at the time. We need not decide whether McNeely should be applied retroactively because the facts support a warrantless blood sample even if McNeely applies. Although McNeely rejected a per se exigency rule, it adhered to the totality of the circumstances analysis set forth in Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 771-72, 86 S. Ct. 1826, 1836, 16 L. Ed. 2d 908, 920 (1966), stating the metabolization of alcohol was an "essential" factor in the analysis. Further, the Court noted that the facts in Schmerber which, like here, included an accident, injuries requiring hospitalization, and an hours-long police investigation, were sufficient to justify a warrantless blood sample.