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Can cops just take my Blood?

Posted by Nathan Webb | May 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

This is a common question and the answer depends upon the circumstances.  If you were arrested for an alcohol related DUI and you are capable of providing a breath sample (i.e., not injured as the result of an accident or incapable due to some ailment like emphysema) the officer must first offer you the opportunity to submit a sample of your breath.  If you refuse then the officer may apply for a search warrant to obtain your blood and if approved the officer can obtain that blood by necessary means.  This means you could literally be strapped down onto a hospital bed and your blood could be drawn.  Now that is an extreme circumstance, but I have seen it happen.

Another situation in which the officer can take blood is when you consent to a blood draw.  The officer may simply ask you if you consent to a blood draw by presenting you with a consent form and if you agree, it is feasible the State would be able to utilize that blood draw in a subsequent trial.

In the instance wherein the officer suspects you have been consuming or ingesting some type of drug other than alcohol, for example, marijuana or cocaine or oxycontin, then the officer may again apply for a warrant and if approved, your blood may be drawn and ostensibly used as evidence at a trial.

The bottom line is that unless you readily consent to a blood draw, the officer must obtain a warrant.  It is always advisable to ask for an attorney immediately upon arrest to preserve your right to challenge any subsequently obtained evidence in a DUI case or any criminal case for that matter.

The rule is: ask for an attorney and do not speak with police after an arrest, it is a very basic premise and one anyone arrested should exercise but the capacity to adhere to that can prove challenging, especially if one is under the influence.  There is a line from a Shrek movie that goes something like this:

                       Donkey: I have the right to remain silent!
                       Shrek: Yes Donkey you have the right, what you lack is the capacity...

So, don't consent to any search and always ask for an attorney.

As always, please feel free to call us at the Webb Law Firm for advice and a free consultation for any DUI arrest.

About the Author

Nathan Webb

Nathan "Nate" Webb has been repeatedly recognized by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as a Super Lawyer Rising Star, named one of Seattle's Top Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine and is rated Superb (perfect 10 out of 10) by Avvo.com.

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