Police officers in the City of Lakewood, Washington are now performing their own blood draws on suspected impaired drivers. Although other states have consistently permitted such an intrusive act, Washington state law has essentially in the past required that a trained medical professional draw blood. This often, of course, necessitates that an officer take the driver to a hospital, which slows the DUI processing down and keeps an officer off the road way for an extended and lengthy period of time. It is believed that the new program will help Lakewood police streamline their investigations and help catch and process more suspected impaired drivers.
Six Lakewood officers recently completed phlebotomy courses at Bates Technical College, and they are now certified to draw blood by the Washington Department of Health. It is hoped that the Lakewood program will speed up the process for booking DUI suspects. Critics, however, worry that this will put too much power into the hands of the police. A real and valid concern is whether Lakewood’s program will be fair since police, not hospital employees, will be performing the procedure, which will take place at a police station not a hospital.
It is noted that law enforcement personnel will still be required to get a warrant prior to drawing a person’s blood, and that the blood draw equipment and the procedures used will be the same as those used in hospitals. That said, will it be sanitary? Should an officer act as a nurse? Will this new ‘program’ open up a Pandora’s box to other invasive law enforcement procedures? Time will tell and until then the City of Lakewood will be on a path to blazing new ground in the DUI enforcement arena.
Any person accused of DUI or Being in Actual Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence – whether a minor was in the car or not – should consult with a qualified Seattle DUI attorney. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. We have said it before and will say it again, Washington traffic laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State.