According the the 4th Amendment, all people have a right to be secure in their persons, papers and effects. Consequently, individuals are protected against searches of their person, homes, etc unless police have a warrant which is authorized by a judge and supported by probable cause. In the case of DUI however, where a blood draw is considered a search, there are a couple of exceptions to the warrant requirement. These include situations where a persons consents to having his blood drawn or alternatively, where an exigent circumstance exists.
One of the exigent circumstances recognized by Arizona law occurs where a person suspected of DUI has been transported to a hospital for treatment and hospital officials draw blood samples for medical purposes. In this situation, officers can request a sample of blood obtained by medical personnel to have it analyzed in order to determine an individual's blood alcohol concentration. This is commonly referred to as a medical blood draw.
Recently, Arizona Courts have placed limitations upon a police officer's ability to obtain a sample of blood drawn by hospital officials. Specifically, if a person is transported to a hospital but refuses medical treatment, the officers cannot ask for a sample of blood drawn by medical professionals and use it to prosecute a person for DUI. The rationale behind this decision is that the person did not consent to the police action of obtaining a blood sample.
In another decision, courts held that police cannot obtain a sample of a DUI suspect's blood if they are unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting to medical treatment. In this scenario, police must obtain a warrant or have evidence to show that an exigency exists which permits them to obtain a blood sample without a person's consent and without getting a warrant.
Both of these decisions which limit the ability of police to obtain blood samples from people transported to a hospital in Arizona are extremely important because a blood alcohol concentration is usually the most powerful evidence the police or prosecutor may have in a DUI case.
If you, a family member or loved one has been charged with DUI or any other criminal offense in Arizona you are well advised to immediately contact an experienced DUI or criminal defense lawyer who regularly represents people charged with these types of offenses. Attorney Raymond Kimble has represented people charged with DUI and other crimes in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Phoenix, Scottsdale and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties during the last twenty years and has achieved tremendous results for his clients.