New blood draw law affects certain DUI offenders

New blood draw law affects certain DUI offenders »Play Video
The new law affects people who have any kind of vehicular homicide or assault charges, or those who are facing their fifth DUI.
CLARKSTON, WA - A new law in Washington that's been in effect since August 1st, allows medical professionals to draw blood from DUI offenders without consent.

"At some point we've got to protect ourselves," said attorney Scott Broyles.

Broyles is talking about the rights of citizens over those who face felony DUI charges. According to Sergeant Mike Eggleston, on August 1st, a new law came into effect, that allows Washington State Patrol troopers to draw blood without consent from a specific group of DUI offenders.

The troopers can take people who have any kind of vehicular homicide or assault charges, or those who are facing their fifth DUI to a nearby medical facility to test their Blood Alcohol Content level or BAC, whether they agree or not.

"If you're going to be charged with felony DUI, in other words if they can confirm that you've had more than this, will be your fifth DUI within the last ten years then you will fall under the special evidence warnings for removing blood for the purposes of testing your blood," said Eggleston.

"Somebody who's got a felony or obviously a dead body in a car crash at their feet, at that point they're over the line," said Broyles. "The rest of us have some rights."

The law previously gave DUI offenders the choice of a breathalyzer test or getting their blood drawn. Broyles said because the alcohol is metabolized through your body when you breath into a breathalyzer, your BAC level can come out to be lower then if you were to test straight from your blood.

Naturally most people objected to the invasive test because of this. However now, those who are facing felony DUI charges or have previous convictions regarding vehicular homicide or assault will get their blood drawn.

"Instead of giving consent to provide a breath sample, like you would on a regular DUI, what would happen now is it falls under special evidence which means you will be submitted to a blood draw," said Eggleston.

"Sometimes that harsh statement is lock them up and throw away the key," said Broyles. "Unfortunately at felony DUI level you get there."

Eggleston said felony DUI charges are uncommon in this area. He said that typically you'll see this procedure occur in more metropolitan areas that are densely populated.

If you'd like to take a look at the RCW statute, go to http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.5055
for the full document.