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– K. – 4/26/11
Interviewer : So porous blood draws, does this happen in Arizona only on DUI cases? When can it happen? How could it happen? What’s the legality of it?
Mike: Well, in America, in the United States, and Arizona, police cannot unlawfully search or seize any evidence from you without a warrant. To get a warrant, they would have to basically have probable cause that the evidence that they’re searching for is related to the crime they think you committed. They would have to sign an affidavit or do a verbal under oath affidavit to a judge, telling him the reasons why they need the blood and if that establishes probably cause, and a judge signs it. Then with a valid search warrant they can force somebody to have their blood drawn. That usually only happens in DUI cases, or in vehicular homicide cases or vehicular aggravated assault cases. But it’s possible it could be done in other types of crimes. It’s just more common in cases that involve vehicles.
Interviewer : When you say force, can the police themselves, if they get a warrant, grab you, hold you down, and put a needle in you? Are they going to take you to the hospital? Where does it happen?
Mike: It just has to be done by a certified phlebotomist There are some cities, like the city of Scottsdale, where with the majority of the blood draws, what they do on DUI cases is they take the suspect to a hospital and the blood is drawn there. Other cities, a lot of the officers are certified phlebotomists, so they are able to draw the blood, anywhere. Sometimes they’ve drawn blood on the side of the road. Sometimes they do it in a police station. Once the officer’s a certified phlebotomist, the blood draw can happen anywhere. In some cases, yes, they can literally hold a person down and draw your blood if they have a valid warrant.
Interviewer : How fast can they get this warrant and how easy are they to get?
Mike: The time on getting a warrant varies. I’ve seen cases where an officer is able to verbally call an on-call judge, whose job is to be on call at anytime of the night, and give the information needed for a warrant, and the judge can sign a warrant and fax it back over to where they’re at, and sometimes that happens as quick as fifteen minutes. I’ve also seen situations where it takes as long as two hours for the warrant to come back.
Interviewer : Okay. Where do these forced blood draws tend to happen? Do they tend to happen on the roadside or more in the police station or more in the hospital?
Mike: They’re usually more at either a DUI task force, which is like a makeshift station, or it’s at the police station, or sometimes it is at the hospital. Usually it’s at a police station or a task force area. The draw that is physically forced is usually when someone has refused to let the officers draw blood, and then after being shown a warrant, if they’re shown a warrant, the officers still want blood and the person is refusing, then that’s when they have to forcibly hold the person down and take the blood. So that’s essentially, they restrain the person and then draw blood.