Can Someone Refuse A Blood Draw?
It is possible for a driver to refuse a blood draw if they are stopped by police in Utah. In most cases, when that happens the officer will request a warrant and if the judge issues it and you continue to refuse, they will hold you down and take the blood.
Recently, there was a case here in Utah in which several officers had to hold down a lady to draw her blood because she was afraid of needles. A photo has been circulating, showing her being pinned to the ground by police as they drew her blood. You can refuse to a certain point, but once they get a warrant, they’ll take it one way or another.
Can a Police Officer Request A Blood Draw After The Breathalyzer And Field Sobriety Tests?
There have been cases in which officers arrest a driver on the road and have them submit to a portable breath test, which is a little handheld device with a tube sticking out of it. In many cases, drivers will think that’s enough and believe they can refuse other tests.
In other cases, police will take the driver to the station and have them blow into the Intoxilyzer, which is the real machine; the one that’s calibrated and maintained by the state. At times, a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) will show a 0.06 or 0.07, which is below the legal limit of 0.08, but the officer suspects something else may be going on with them, so they’ll ask for a blood test. The driver is still required to submit to the blood test, even if they’ve already submitted to two different breath tests.
Police can ask for whatever tests they think they need to make their case, and they frequently combine the results of field sobriety tests with a breath test and/or a blood test. Sometimes, they will also try to prosecute people for DUI even when there’s been no chemical test. Sometimes, they’ll try to claim that the person refused, or that they couldn’t get a warrant, or that the judge didn’t sign it for some reason, but maintain that they still believe that the driver was impaired.
In Utah, part of the statute says that someone can be found guilty of DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree that rendered them incapable of safely operating the vehicle. In those cases, the officers and the prosecutor will attempt to use the driving pattern along with failed field sobriety tests to claim that the driver was swerving, they weren’t obeying traffic laws and when they were stopped, they weren’t able to walk a straight line, couldn’t hold their foot 6 inches off the ground and were unable to count to 30.”
What Happens if the Police Forcibly Draw Blood and the Result Comes Back Clear?
That depends. If the person they forced down was injured, or if police used excessive force, that person could have a claim for litigation, especially if they come back clear. In some cases like that, prosecutors will see that and will want to dismiss that case as quickly as possible.
However, you never know; they still might want to get the conviction to protect the city or the police officers. They may try to get a conviction on the theory mentioned above. They may say, while the blood test only shows a 0.06 BAC look how they failed the field sobriety tests, or look at the fact that they were involved in an accident.
In other words, even if they blow below a 0.08, it’s still possible to prosecute them for being incapable of safely operating a vehicle. The 0.06 would show alcohol in their system, so the second question becomes, was this person able to safely drive their vehicle? It depends on the prosecutor in those kinds of cases.
Are Any Fees Associated With the Blood Draw?
If the police ask to draw blood, there are no fees or costs associated with it for the driver.
Many people don’t know this, but they can get their own independent blood test. For example, if someone was taken to the jail and the blood draw was performed and they were immediately bonded out, bailed out or released, they could head straight to a hospital and have them perform a blood test and use that to defend their case, assuming they’re under the limit. They will have to pay for that extra test, of course.
For more information about Refusal to Consent to Blood Draws, please call (801) 477-5009 today to schedule a free initial consultation. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.