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Arizona Courts Restrict Use of Hospital Blood Samples in DUI Cases

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Aug 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.  Consequently,  before police officers can search you, your home, office or vehicle they will generally need a warrant which specifically describes the place to be searched and the items which are intended to be seized.  Of course, there are some exceptions to the warrant requirement such as a search incident to an arrest, an inventory of a car which is to be towed, etc.  However, warrantless search is reasonable and permissible only if authorized by a recognized exception to the warrant requirement.

Medical Blood Draws DUI Cases

Under Arizona law and commonly referred to as the medical blood draw exception, police may obtain a sample of a DUI suspects blood which was originally drawn by hospital personnel for medical purposes.  Specifically, A.R.S. 28-1388 provides;

Notwithstanding any other law, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has violated § 28- 1381 and a sample of blood, urine or other bodily substance is taken from that person for any reason, a portion of that sample sufficient for analysis shall be provided to a law enforcement officer if requested for law enforcement purposes.

In order to bypass the warrant requirement and allow police to obtain a sample of a DUI suspect's blood from hospital staff, Arizona courts held that an exception to the warrant requirement would be applicable under the following circumstances:

  • probable cause exists to believe the person has violated the state's DUI laws
  • exigent circumstances are present and,
  •  the blood is drawn for medical purposes by medical personnel.

Later, the courts determined that a DUI suspect had a right to direct his own medical treatment.  Therefore, if he decided against allowing hospital staff to draw his blood or was not in a position to make an intelligent, informed decision then police could not obtain a blood sample from the hospital without a warrant. Additionally, alcohol is commonly known to dissipate in a person's blood stream over time.  This was routinely relied upon by law enforcement as an exigent circumstance allowing for police to obtain a sample of blood drawn for medical purposes.  Now however, courts have held that the evanescence of alcohol in the bloodstream does not by itself create an exigency which permits a warrantless search.  Moreover, an additional restriction was placed upon the ability of police to obtain blood samples drawn in hospital to further their DUI investigation.  Specifically, if hospital officials draw a DUI suspects blood for medical purposes before officers request a sample, they must either get the person's consent or obtain a warrant.  This is because there is no longer an exigency which might result in the suspects blood sample degrading or becoming contaminated. Simply put, there are now more restrictions on an officers ability to obtain blood samples from DUI suspects that have been transported to a hospital.  

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If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a DUI offense in Arizona, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified DUI attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your driver's license. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.

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About Raymond Kimble

Raymond A. Kimble is a former police officer and felony prosecutor who has twenty years experience defending people accused of DUI and other criminal offenses throughout Arizona. Mr. Kimble represents clients seeking experienced and aggressive representation to help them fight the charges they face. For more information, contact The Law Office of Raymond A. Kimble today.