Henry Ruggs, a former Raiders receiver, had an illegally high level of alcohol in his blood after he crashed his Corvette at 156 MPH into another car last year. He also killed the young woman who was driving it. Ruggs is currently in prison for years and is trying to argue through his lawyers that the blood test that confirmed that Ruggs was legally intoxicated should not be included in the trial.
According to the Associated Press Ruggs' lawyers, police lacked a reason for a judge to authorize a warrant to collect blood from Ruggs without Ruggs consent.
In a filing last month, attorneys Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff argued that there was no true probable cause. "The mere fact that Mr. Ruggs was involved in a fatal collision with a vehicle does not give rise to probable cause for us to believe that he was drunk."
Ruggs was in hospital and did not have to undergo a field sobriety exam to determine if he had impairment. According to Ruggs's legal paperwork, a police officer inquired about Ruggs's supervisor. The supervisor stated that driving behavior and death are enough to warrant your arrest for the day.
Next month, a hearing will be held on the matter. Due to difficulties in obtaining a blood sample, the preliminary hearing was moved to September.
This case highlights the distinction between legal and factual guilt. In the end, the prosecution must provide sufficient evidence to prove legal guilty in a way that respects the rights of all accused. Ruggs' rights cannot be violated, even if he was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
What is law enforcement supposed do if a driver has been involved in a crash and is in need of medical attention? Before allowing the driver to get into an ambulance, conduct a sobriety check.
It is necessary to find a way to reconcile the rights and responsibilities of the driver and the victim. Ruggs's lawyers do not seem to challenge the accuracy of the test results, especially in cases like this.
Just the existence of the argument suggests that Ruggs will prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to all elements of his charges. This includes a defense that could be based on the possibility of reasonable doubt about Ruggs' girlfriend driving the car. Rumours persist for months that Ruggs could contest this point. Any plausible argument can be made that Ruggs will not contest the issue of whether BAC evidence points to his guilt.