You read the headline correctly. It sued to be that is police officers wanted to verify if you were intoxicated or under the influence of another substance while driving and you would not submit to their investigation that they had to obtain a warrant and have a medical professional administer any blood draws. Not anymore. Nope, in Arizona, cops have their own DUI van and are drawing your blood themselves.
No matter how you think regarding DUI checkpoints, one has to question the sanitary conditions and knowledgeability of police officers to be engaged in drawing citizens blood. However, as Pew Trusts reports:
Drugged driving is a growing concern as more states legalize marijuana and the opioid epidemic rages on. To fight it, more communities are training police officers to draw drivers’ blood at police stations or in vans, as in Arizona. And on-call judges are approving warrants electronically, often in a matter of minutes at any time of day or night.
While it’s easy for police to screen drivers for alcohol impairment using breath-testing devices to get a blood alcohol concentration level, there’s no such machine to screen for drug impairment.
That’s why blood tests are so important, traffic safety experts say. And alcohol and drugs such as heroin and the psychoactive compound in marijuana are metabolized quickly in the body, so the more time that elapses, the lower the concentration.
Having an officer draw the suspect’s blood soon after he is stopped gives a truer picture of his impairment because he doesn’t have to be taken to a health center for a blood draw after he is arrested, they say. Police departments also save money because they don’t need to pay phlebotomists and hospitals for blood draws.
Ah, yes, streamlining the violation of your rights to even be stopped in the first place, let alone asked to identify yourself when you are not even suspected of a crime.
Then, on top of that, if the officer thinks you might be intoxicated, you may even be forced to submit to a non-healthcare professional, a policeman, who may or may not be knowledgable in drawing your blood.
Some will praise this saying that drunk drivers and those who are under the influence of drugs shouldn’t be on the road in the first place, and I would agree with them, but here’s the thing, the entire determining of whether someone is under the influence is purely subjective. From state to state, there is no consistent measurement of whether someone is under the influence of any drug or alcohol that would actually impair them. In fact, some states have such a low blood/alcohol measurement that someone could literally have gone out to eat, had a beer or glass of wine and be “legally” drunk, but not necessarily under the influence of the beverage.
And those fluctuate all over the place.
Pew Trust also points out the problems with civil rights.
A 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found that police don’t need a warrant if a driver suspected of impairment refuses to take a breath test, but they do for a blood test, which pierces the skin. But critics say blood draws outside of a traditional medical setting are unhygienic and that e-warrants could infringe on an individual’s rights.
“There’s an absolute potential for a dilution of a citizen’s constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure when it’s done that way,” said Donald Ramsell, a Wheaton, Illinois, DUI attorney and Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers board member. “A judge can just wake up in his bedroom and hit ‘accept’ [on his device] and go back to sleep.”
So, why not simply use a warrant and take people in for a blood draw from medical professionals? Money.
These stops, like everything else the government does that violate our rights, is all about gaining revenue and if they have to pay for blood draws to hospitals, well, that cuts into the profits.
As the Pew Trust article points out, the real reason for using police officers rather than medically trained professionals is to “save money because they don’t need to pay phlebotomists and hospitals for blood draws.”
Back in 2013, Suzanne Hamner reported that courts were ruling forced blood draws were “legal,” including the Supreme Court.
Civil rights attorney John Whitehead has written on this subject on numerous occasions, including lumping in forced biometric scans and DNA collection.
- Forced Blood Draws, DNA Collection and Biometric Scans: What Country Is This?
- What Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity Searches and Colonoscopies
- Forced Blood Draws & Implied Consent Laws Make a Mockery of the Fourth Amendment
The thing is that this all begins with stopping people without a cause in the first place. Do I want people killed or maimed by drunk or intoxicated drivers? No, certainly not, but at the same time, people should not be being stopped by police officers when there is no reason to detain them for any reason. In fact, one could rightly argue that they are depriving you of your liberty to move, something that is supposed to be protected under the Fifth Amendment’s provisions, without due process of law and for absolutely no reason other than that they were told to by the state collection agency by which they are employed.
Pew Trust concluded the article by talking about the time saved in the new process.
According to Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Janet Miller, a certified phlebotomist, “It’s been a great tool not only for law enforcement but for the individual placed under arrest.
“Instead of spending three to six hours with the officer, it’s been cut down to one to two,” she said. “They can get to the jail sooner and get out sooner.”
But critics worry that the e-warrant process for DUI blood draws can end up being the electronic version of a rubber stamp.
“It’s primarily a question of whether judges are actually reading the warrants with the degree of attention that one would expect,” DUI attorney Ramsell said.
I agree with Ramsell, and I don’t deny the results, but this is missing the entire point of DUI checkpoints in the first place. They are simply unconstitutional. Now, if a person has been stopped for driving that might indicate that they are actually impaired, then fine, go through the process, get a warrant and have medical professionals administer the blood draw, but this claim that officers are “trained phlebotomists,” in my opinion, is simply ridiculous.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
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