Idaho police were not happy that so many people were refusing breathalyzer tests when stopped for drunk driving. It’s not against the law to refuse, so they came up with a new idea. The forceful drawing of blood is perfectly legal and the Idaho police are enforcing this practice.
Officers can’t hold down a suspect and force them to breath into a tube, she noted, but they can forcefully take blood — a practice that’s been upheld by Idaho’s Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court ruled in 1966 that police could have blood tests forcibly done on a drunk driving suspect without a warrant, as long as the draw was based on a reasonable suspicion that a suspect was intoxicated, that it was done after an arrest and carried out in a medically approved manner.
The practice of cops drawing blood, implemented first in 1995 in Arizona, has also raised concerns about safety and the credibility of the evidence.
“I would imagine that a lot of people would be wary of having their blood drawn by an officer on the hood of their police vehicle,” said Steve Oberman, chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ DUI Committee.
Really? Ya think?
The officer phlebotomists are generally trained under the same program as their state’s hospital or clinical phlebotomists, but they do it under a highly compressed schedule, and some of the curriculum is cut.
Uhm, yay for shortcuts?
…they are trained on the elbow crease, the forearm and the back of the hand. If none are accessible, they’ll take the suspect to the hospital for testing.
Drunk or not, I’m going to fight this, which means the police won’t be able to do their work or they’ll stab me so bad I’ll need to go to the hospital. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to have police officers take blood at the scene?
Once they’re back on patrol, they will draw blood of any suspected drunk driver who refuses a breath test. They’ll use force if they need to, such as getting help from another officer to pin down a suspect and potentially strap them down, Watson said.
So, you’ve got a potentially drunk person who is, naturally, going to freak out when they are pinned down and no one thinks anything could possibly go wrong here?
Though most legal experts agree blood tests measure blood alcohol more accurately than breath tests, Oberman said the tests can be fraught with problems, too.
Vials can be mixed up, preservative levels in the tubes used to collect the blood can be off, or the blood can be stored improperly, causing it to ferment and boosting the alcohol content.
There is so much wrong here all you can do is shake your head at the stupidity of government officials that think this program is going to work.
“What we found was that the refusal rates of chemical testing lowered significantly since this program began,” Haywood said. “Arizona we had about a 20 percent refusal rate in 1995, and today we see about an 8 to 9 percent refusal rate.”
People scared shitless probably have nothing to do with this drop in refusal rates. Most probably don’t know their rights and are so scared that they just comply with the police for fear of worse reprisals.
Just because you are suspected of being drunk doesn’t mean that you should be subjected to such procedures. I don’t care what the Supreme Court said, the states are misinterpreting it and stretching the law to fit what they want. The side of the road is not a safe or sterile environment to perform such a test. Despite basic training, a police officer is not a trained medical personnel and I will not allow someone who is not properly trained to jab me with anything sharp.
The police pass their training after 75 successful blood draws. I have blood drawn at the hospital and, even then, the properly trained nurses can’t always find a vein and don’t always get it right. How is a cop going to do better than a nurse with years of training?
Breathalyzers aren’t always accurate. No one wants a cop drawing their blood. Your choice? Don’t ever go to Idaho.