Do you have a right to take a blood test?

Almost everyone who is arrested for DUI is taken to the police station for a breathalyzer test. A lot of people wonder though if they have a right to go to the hospital or other medical facility to have their blood tested for alcohol or drugs.

If you decide to submit to a breath test then either you or the police officer has the right to request a blood test. Many times the police officer will be the one to request it if the breath test doesn’t indicate enough alcohol to cause impairment. When the officer requests the test the government will pay the expense, and if you decline to provide the sample it still counts as a refusal against you.

If you’ve submitted to a breath test and then you are the one who requests a blood test the officer has to provide “affirmative assistance” in helping you get the test. This means that the officer has to make special effort to see that you are transported to a location that will actually administer the test. However if you are the one requesting the test you would be required to pay.

It gets a little different if you decline the breath test. If you turn down the breath test, and then ask for a blood test you only must be given a “reasonable opportunity” to take a breath test. This puts a lesser standard on the police officer than “affirmative assistance” that would be required if you actually gave the sample.

A “reasonable opportunity” doesn’t require much of the officer. They don’t have to help you locate a facility that will actually take a blood sample from someone in police custody (and that becomes very difficult after hours or on weekends). Although they don’t have to help you locate a facility, they should likely provide you access to a phone and a phonebook for this purpose. It would be up to you to identify where you want to have the sample taken, it must be reasonably accessible (if you are arrested in Greenville you probably can’t demand to be taken to a hospital in Charleston), and the facility actually has to be willing to take the sample. And, it still would be your requirement to pay to have the sample taken.

Call Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today for a consultation for your DUI case.

Categories: DUI
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