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Out for blood

Local law enforcement plan to use a new tactic for suspected drunk drivers who refuse to take a breath test.

Police will be blanketing the roads this weekend looking to get tough on drunk drivers and they won't be taking "no" for an answer from suspected impaired motorists.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office announced last week that during the drunk driving saturation patrol taking place on roads all across Palm Beach County, deputies will be seeking warrants to compel blood tests from suspected drunken drivers who refuse to take a breath test.

Will a court uphold the right of police to draw blood or is unlawful? I don't know and won't harbor a guess as to how an appeals court will rule.

What I write below is assuming the blood test is done at the DUI checkpoint.

What concerns me about the news- How well trained are the law enforcement people in the drawing of blood? There is no certification needed for phlebotomists in Florida, but before going to work in this profession they do 4 to 6 weeks of training at a vocational school or community college.

Finding a place to do a proper arterial venous collection is often difficult. During all the medical work I had in the last 18 months, I had 3 separate instances of people who had trouble drawing blood from me. Law enforcement will run into men and women whose bodies are tough to draw blood from. There is always risk of infectious disease spreading if a person drawing a blood sample should accidentally stick themselves after drawing blood from someone who is HIV positive.

I just hope these people are properly trained, but if problems are encountered because training was done half assed, I wouldn't be surprised. Florida law enforcement always has me expecting the worst.

Update- It was on this evening's news. They may be using paramedics.


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Comments (10)

This sounds stupid on so ma... (Below threshold)

This sounds stupid on so many levels. I'm not familiar with Florida law. In Kaleefornia we have "implied consent". You accept a Cal DL, you've given implied consent to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample when arrested for DUI. If you refuse, officers can have blood drawn "in a medically approved manner", and in a "manner that does not shock the conscience of the court". Had several sterling citizens with multiple DUI's who followed their attorney's advice to refuse any test. Most that happens is that they lose their DL for a year....and they continue to drive anyway. The lawyers motivation is that there's not much they can do in front of a jury to rebutt the results of the chemical tests. Anyway, I'd just tell the inebriate that I'm calling in 6 officers and that we're going to hold them down in a chair and have a phlebotomist draw the blood, and to make sure they smile because the whole thing is going to be video taped. Of course they bluster that they're going to sue, have my badge, call the mayor, 4th Amendment violation, yadda yadda yadda. But in the end, they just sit there and the blood gets taken.

VENOUS blood draw for a BAC... (Below threshold)

VENOUS blood draw for a BAC Bill, not arterial.

I doubt the cops will be dr... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I doubt the cops will be drawing blood. Typically, if a driver refuses the breathalyzer, the driver is arrested and then taken to a hospital where medical professionals draw the blood. I supposed if the cops are setting up checkpoints, it might make sense for them to have a medical professional on hand to do the blood tests, but I would think that would be too expensive to have them hanging around just for the occasional refuser.

You can always take the fel... (Below threshold)

You can always take the fellow to the local ER to be "medically cleared" prior to incarceration. THe ER doc has to do a drug screen including a BAC to make sure the perp is not going to croak from acute alcohol (or some other drug) intoxication. As long as a chain of custody is ensured, it becomes legally discoverable.

Hmmm....sounds more like to... (Below threshold)

Hmmm....sounds more like torture than waterboarding.

My Florida DL has the follo... (Below threshold)
Ron Neyer:

My Florida DL has the following printed on the front: "Operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law." There does not seem to be anything implied. Drive and you have already actively consented. I am sure that even the Palm Beach Sherrif's Dept. is smart enough to have blood drawn by qualified personnel in a safe, sterile environment.

Since the article didn't sa... (Below threshold)

Since the article didn't say where the draw was to take place, I went with one possible conclusion

Ron- Are we talking the same law enforcement that needed almost 300 shots to stop someone a few years ago,


or have brother south florida law enforcement that let evidence be taken away from a accident scene involving an FBI agent,


Or the payroll cheats here in Palm Beach County

Or the Broward Sheriff's officers who use steroids

Or the North Florida Sheriff who left the scene of an accident with over 4,000 dollars worth of body damage done. He wasn't tested for alcohol.

Or the 6 PB County sheriffs who felt the need to harass a law abiding citizen who waved down an officer after his car broke down. Do I need to go? The last one was me in 2004 for no good reason. Law enforcement are some of the biggest lawbreakers around or are willing to cover up for ones of them who do. If they aren't doing one or the other, some are on power trips.

Epador- Brain fart by me. 18 months of major medical problems have me fixing up all sorts of stuff. Did you ever read where I wrote I rode in an elephant?(It was supposed to be elevator)

Bill, that is a very intere... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Bill, that is a very interesting question you brought up. But DUI is a serious problem in this country, not just one state, but all 50. If this is done proper, and gets drunks off the roads, I'm all for it.

But I'm sure some bleeding heart lawyer will try to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. And if that SOB loses, he should suffer the same punishment the drunk gets.

This is why, in Alaska we h... (Below threshold)

This is why, in Alaska we have a refusal to submit to a chemical breath test law. It makes the offense of not submitting equal to driving drunk. It also allows for the revocation of the persons drivers license on the spot to law enforcement. Blood tests are always done by medical persons. Blood goes into evidence and needs a warrant to be used as evidence in court.

There's a big, fat vein on ... (Below threshold)

There's a big, fat vein on the back of each hand. It's a lot smaller than the elbow vein, but a phlebotomist where I give blood once told me that I could give a pint from the back of my hand if they couldn't find a better vein; it woudl just take longer.






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