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New GOHS program will certify law enforcement to collect blood from DUI suspects

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The governor’s office of road safety is working to certify up to 100 law enforcement officers to draw blood from suspected DUI drivers.

GOHS has implemented a new program for law enforcement officers to become certified in phlebotomy practices. The first class begins on October 4 and will consist of soldiers, Georgia State Patrol Night Hawks and members of the HEAT teams.

Under Georgian law, law enforcement officials can only obtain a blood test from a suspected impaired driver if a person consents, if a search warrant is obtained. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that police can take evidence of blood when a driver suspected of being drunk or drugged is also unconscious.

The need, officials say, is because blood tests are more accurate than breathalyzers. Lawyers also said the latest wave of Covid-19 overwhelmed EMS and hospitals, often resulting in a delay in a blood test. With alcohol, the content in the blood decreases by 0.125 grams per hour. In addition, breathalyzers do not measure the presence of drugs.

GOHS Director Rogers Hayes told Fox5 Atlanta that “The purpose of this is to get drunk drivers off the road, impaired drivers off the road.” There are so many other impairments, prescription drugs and illegal drugs as well as alcohol, so the blood will help us test all of these things. “

Hayes also said it could act as a deterrent and encourage voluntary compliance if drivers know law enforcement can quickly gather evidence.

Opponents of the practice say blood sampling outside of a traditional medical setting is “”unhealthy and that electronic money orders could infringe an individual’s rights“, which has been a point of contention for unintentional blood tests for years. A problem arises when the focus is on collecting evidence rather than performing a medical procedure, they say.

“There is an absolute potential for diluting a citizen’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures when done in this way,” said Donald Ramsell in a statement. BENCH article. Ramsell is a DUI lawyer and a board member of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “A judge can simply wake up in his room and press ‘accept’ [on his device] and go back to sleep.

Additionally, critics say allowing officers to draw blood is a responsibility of the agent and the agency, regardless of certification. Certification is usually in “venipuncture”, which varies from the more thorough practice of phlebotomy.

In 2016, United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the Birchfield v. North Dakota opinion that breath tests are not a significant invasion of privacy, but that blood tests involve piercing of the skin. He also said that a blood sample can be stored and analyzed for reasons and information far beyond what can be found in a breath sample.

Several other states allow trained officers to draw blood from drunk driving suspects, including Arizona, Minnesota and Washington.

Impaired driving kills and injures thousands of Americans every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says alcohol-related crashes killed 10,874 people in 2017.


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