Can Police Force Drivers to Take a Blood Test?

by Randy Collins on March 10, 2013

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Many individuals disagree with DUI checkpoints, and now another heated debate has surfaced – Should police be allowed to draw a blood test without a valid warrant, and without the driver’s permission?

This question was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when a Missouri drunk driver refused to take a blood test without a warrant, and was subsequently forced to do so. The Missouri Supreme Court disproved of this process, given that the driver was handcuffed while being stuck with a needle – the case was thrown out.

In California, the refusal of a chemical blood test results in an automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license for an entire year. Law enforcement argues that despite infringing upon civil rights, the evidence of drunk driving cannot be acquired without a chemical test. In order to obtain a warrant, this would take some time, after which the evidence of alcohol intoxication in the blood would die.

Even with this automatic suspension of a driver’s license pending, a driver can however fight this suspension by requesting a California DMV hearing. The prosecution will have to prove that the arrest was completely legal, that the arresting officer had reason to believe the driver was under the influence, and that the test was being conducted in a medically approved setting.

Some of the signs of intoxication include slurred speech, forgetfulness, red eyes and more that law enforcement is trained to look for.

Blood tests are considered among medical specialists and prosecution teams as the most accurate form of evidence for intoxication. More so than breath and urine tests. In fact, DUI laws in California have been updated in 2013 to reflect this belief.

The California DMV has reported that as of January 1, 2013, urine tests are no longer an option in chemical tests for drivers who are suspected of drunk driving.

Assembly Bill 2020 states that this procedure is a non-issue if it’s unavailable at the time. California Section 23612 states that once a driver gets behind a vehicle, there are implied consent laws in effect in this state. This simply means that drivers give their consent to chemical testing when driving on public roadways. The police are also required to inform drivers that failure to submit a chemical test will result in the automatic suspension of his or her driver’s license for one year.

Randy Collins
Randy Collins is an Orange County, California criminal defense attorney that assists those who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. When I am not assisting people with their legal matters I enjoy sports, legal research, and spending time with my family.
Randy Collins
Randy Collins

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