The era of the “Vampire Cops” is upon us. Well, I’m only kind of joking. The state of Arizona allows its police officers to draw blood from people that they arrest under the suspicion of DUI. Arizona has been doing this for years and was ahead of the recent vampire trend in TV and movies. If something about cops drawing blood gives you an uneasy feeling, you are not alone. Defense lawyers continue to challenge the constitutionality of such actions, and Arizona’s unique stand. You can see one such legal opinion: Constitutionality of Officer Blood Draws in Arizona.
The Arizona statute at issue, A.R.S. Section 28-1388(A), states that a physician, registered nurse, or another qualified person may withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration (BAC) or drug content in the blood. Many Arizona cities (including Phoenix, Gilbert and Chandler) sent their police officers to a five-day class at Phoenix College where they were trained and pronounced qualified to draw blood.
Many of these police officers now carry the blood draw kits in their cars. As a result, I have represented people who have had their blood drawn by officers in such disgusting, non-medical facilities as the back of squad cars, the side of the road, and the bed of a truck which had trash intended for the dump in it at the time of the draw. As of the time of authoring this blog, Scottsdale police officers will generally offer a ride to the hospital to have a blood draw done in a medical facility by true medical professionals. However, many other cities using these “vampire cops” do not give a person arrested for DUI that option.
Who draws the blood and how the blood is drawn in a DUI investigation is incredibly important, as one wants to make sure that the results of the blood draw are accurate.