Forced blood from DUI arrestee results in lawsuit.

WLWT-TV reports that a Lawrenceburg, Indiana man has filed a lawsuit against the police asserting that police forcibly drew blood and urine from his body during a drunk driving arrest. According to the report, a 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and although a breath test showed that he was under the legal limit, the arresting officer doubted the findings. He then obtained a search warrant authorizing the forcible taking of blood. A catheter was inserted against the driver's will while the driver was shackled to a gurney, according to the report. The blood test later showed that the drivers blood alcohol level was not over Indiana's legal limit.

Could this happen in a Washington state DUI arrest? The answer is yes. The Seattle police DUI squad has already obtained search warrants authorizing the taking of a driver's blood in cases where the DUI arrestee has refused to submit to a breath test. Apparently, a DUI Municipal Court Judge is always available by telephone to consider such DUI blood warrants and a Seattle DUI police officer can thus obtain a telephonic warrant to take the blood of a driver arrested for DUI in Seattle even in the middle of the night. The same statutory authority used by the Seattle DUI squad exists is available to other Washington state DUI police agencies who could choose to utilize this procedure but currently, the forcible taking of blood pursuant to a search for it has only been seen in the cases of persons arrested for DUI in Seattle who have refused to submit to a breath test. The forcible taking of blood is at odds with Washington's DUI Implied Consent Law, which grants the right to every Washington State DUI arrestee to refuse to submit to a breath test when arrested for a misdemeanor DUI charge. The statute does not inform the DUI arrestee that if he refuses to take a breath test, a search for it could be obtained that would authorize the forcible taking of blood. The entire controversy is currently awaiting a decision by the Washington State Supreme Court.

The law firm Fox Bowman Duarte has a twenty-four hour line available to advise drivers who are facing critical decisions upon a DUI arrest.