The laws of Washington say that a person who applies for and receives a driver’s license from the state government has given consent for breath testing during a traffic stop for possible DUI. Nevertheless, you may reasonably wonder, how do these implied consent laws apply to blood testing? Who has the authorization to take a sample from you for testing purposes, and under what circumstances?
According to KATU2, the law does not permit authorities who make a DUI arrest to collect a blood sample from you without your consent, at least not under ordinary circumstances. However, they can request a warrant to compel you to submit to a blood draw if a law enforcement officer can give probable cause and if you refuse a breath test.
It is usually medical personnel who actually perform the procedure of collecting a blood sample. However, there is a pilot program in Southwest Washington that allows certain officers to collect blood samples. This takes place at a designated room at the law enforcement facility, and the authorities who perform the procedure have prior medical experience.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission provided funds for training and equipment through a grant. Authorities tout the program’s ability to return officers to patrol with more speed and efficiency by streamlining the process of collecting samples for testing. They also assert that the program helps to protect the public by not taking drivers who are combative to the hospital to await a blood draw. However, one defense attorney has concerns that, under the program, officials may issue warrants for more blood samples than are necessary.