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Blood Testing And DUI Defenses

Police must have a warrant before obtaining a blood sample unless a narrow and jealously guarded exception to the warrant requirement applies. See generally Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552 (2013). A major search and seizure issue may exist anytime a blood draw is conducted without a warrant. Even where a warrant is obtained, it must be supported by probable cause. U.S. Const. Amend. IV. All warrants and any affidavit of probable cause must be placed under a microscope in any case. Mistakes can be made as warrants are routinely issued.

Numerous grounds for suppression may exist beyond search and seizure issues. Blood analysts must have a permit issued by the state toxicologist. RCW 46.61.506(3); WAC 448-14-030(2). The blood analysts must also perform analyses according to methods approved by the state toxicologist. RCW 46.61.506(3). Certain protocols must also be followed regarding obtaining the blood sample from the suspect. The approved methods are contained in the Washington Administrative Code. WAC 448-14 et seq. Additional protocols are contained in the Washington State Toxicologist’s interoffice communications and memorandums. Failure to follow procedures embodied in the Washington Administrative Code or other protocols may require suppression of blood test results. For example, blood samples must be preserved with an anticoagulant and enzyme poison sufficient in amount to prevent clotting and stabilize the concentration. WAC 448-14-020. If there is insufficient evidence to show that an enzyme poison was added to the blood sample, the blood test results must be suppressed regardless of the presence of an anticoagulant and compliance with other protocol. See, e.g., State v. Hultenschmidt, 125 Wash.App. 259 (Wash. Ct. App. 2004); State v. Bosio, 107 Wash.App. 462 (Wash. Ct. App. 2001). Ultimately, obtaining materials from the State Toxicologist Laboratory and careful attention to detail in a given case may reveal suppression issues or other grounds to attack the validity of test results.

Contact the DUI defense attorneys at Platt, Thompson and Buescher today to talk about resolving your DUI charge. We serve Oak Harbor, Island County, Bellingham, Burlington, Mt. Vernon, Whatcom County, Skagit County, Seattle, King County, and greater western Washington. Call our Coupeville office to schedule an appointment by at 360-474-3994 or contact us online.