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DUI Blood Tests in Wheeling
Wheeling WV criminal lawyer Sean Logue can provide valuable insights into the process of blood testing in cases involving suspicion of DUI. When an individual is arrested, the arresting officer often requests a blood test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It is important to note that by signing for a driver’s license, individuals impliedly consented to such tests. Refusal to submit to a blood draw can lead to charges of refusal to submit to chemical testing, which carries both criminal and administrative consequences.
Blood Tests Facts
There are two types of blood samples: “legal blood,” taken at the request of a police officer, and “medical blood,” which includes records obtained from the hospital. In some instances, officers may try to access hospital records to use BAC records as evidence in DUI cases.
Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in West Virginia have three methods to obtain blood test results or records from hospitals: obtaining a search warrant, making a law enforcement request, or requesting hospital records.
Law Enforcement Request for Blood Test Records
Upon arrest for suspicion of DUI, officers will request consent for a blood test. The blood is usually drawn at a hospital by a qualified professional, such as a phlebotomist, physician, technician, or registered nurse. This process is governed by Section 4511.19(D)(1)(b) of the West Virginia Revised Code.
The procedures for drawing blood are outlined in the West Virginia Administrative Code, specifically section 3701.53. It is important to note that the lab or hospital conducting the blood draw must possess the necessary permits for the results to be admissible in court. Alternatively, the prosecutor may present expert testimony to establish the credibility of the blood test results.
A police officer can make a law enforcement records request to obtain the results of a suspect’s blood test that was taken for medical reasons. For instance, if the driver involved in an accident is taken to the hospital and blood is drawn due to injuries, an officer can request the hospital to release the blood test results if they suspect alcohol involvement. However, for the results to be admissible in court, the hospital must be a specially permitted facility that follows standard protocol or the results must be presented alongside expert testimony.
Alternatively, an officer can use a search warrant to obtain the blood sample directly from the hospital. The warrant instructs the medical facility to release the sample to law enforcement, who then have it analyzed at another location.
It is important to be aware that HIPAA (American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws can pose challenges for police officers when requesting records. However, there are exceptions to these privacy rules that allow hospitals to release information to law enforcement in certain circumstances:
- When ordered by a court, either through a search warrant or another court order.
- For investigations, inspections, licensure, and audits as required by state, federal, or local law.
- If an individual has threatened to commit a crime, is a crime victim, or has been involved in a crime.
Refusing or Failing a Blood Test
Please note that you have the right to refuse a blood test after an DUI arrest, but there are significant legal and civil consequences associated with this decision. It is crucial to seek the guidance of a Wheeling WV DUI lawyer who is well-versed in DUI law and defense. Sean Logue, with his extensive experience in handling numerous cases, can provide you with the best possible representation tailored to your specific situation. Call (304) 381-3656.
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