McHenry County is one of the recent counties that has implemented procedures for obtaining blood from the drivers of motor vehicles who are arrested for DUI when drivers’ refuse to provide a breath sample. These procedures include obtaining warrants from judges who are on call around the clock. When a driver arrested for a DUI refuses to submit to a breathalyzer at the police station, an individual officer may try to obtain a warrant requiring the driver to submit to a legal blood draw to determine the driver’s BAC.
An officer can also try to determine a driver’s BAC when the driver is taken to hospital due to an accident or medical condition. If the emergency staff believe there is a medical necessity, they can ask the driver of the vehicle to submit to a medical blood draw. An officer can learn those results from medical staff by indicating to the medical personnel that there is an ongoing DUI investigation. The officer does not need a warrant for this information. Because of this, drivers who are taken to the hospital, should politely decline to submit to a medical blood draw and inform medical staff that they do not have permission to conduct a medical blood draw (provided the driver is properly informed as to why medical personnel believe a blood draw is necessary and if for life-saving treatment). This is something drivers can do to protect themselves from their personal medical information being released to police and protect themselves from potential prosecution.
Lastly, when a driver suspected of DUI is taken to the hospital, an officer can ask for consent for a legal blood draw. An officer can ask a driver to submit a blood draw, taken by medical personnel. The officer does not need a warrant in this situation since the officer is asking for consent from the driver. The blood from the blood draw is not analyzed at the hospital but is evidence that is sent to a crime lab. This is commonly referred to as a DUI kit. This blood draw is specifically used to determine a driver’s BAC for use in a criminal prosecution. When requested by an officer to submit to a legal blood draw, a driver should politely decline. This is well within a driver’s constitutional right to refuse.
Stay safe. Drive safe. Educate yourselves and know your rights.