Interviewer: You mentioned breath tests aren’t very common anymore and we talked a little bit about refusal. If a person refuses the blood or breath or, very rarely, urine, what will the police do? Will they typically just call or try to get a telephonic warrant?
Brian Sloan: Yes. There’s certain ways that officers can get a blood test from a person and it really depends on the situation. A suspect can submit to the blood draw. The officer is required to read the admin per se implied consent.
Arizona’s Telephonic Warrants
He or she is required to tell suspects that, pursuant to Arizona law, they are required to provide blood, breath or urine, at the officer’s request and that a failure to do so will result in their license being suspended for a year. If the person still does not expressly consent to the blood being taken, the officers will suspend the license for a year and then we’ll get a telephonic warrant.
Telephonic warrants can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, but once the officer comes back with that telephonic warrant, the suspect has no legal right to refuse. They can try to refuse. They can try to fight the officer. It’s not recommended and, if they do that, the officers can take them down and can physically force the person to submit to the blood because they have a warrant.
They can jab the person many times with the needle. I’ve seen that happen when an officer has a person who’s not cooperating or has a person who doesn’t necessarily have accessible veins that allow an easy blood draw.
They’re going to try it in the crook of your arm. They’re going to try it in your wrist. They’re going to try it in your hand and, there are some cases, where people are pulled six times, in six different places, in an attempt to get a blood draw.
That person tends to come out of that very bruised because they have been stuck with a needle so many times.
If You Are Unconscious, the Police Are Allowed to Draw Your Blood
Then, the other way officers are allowed to get blood from people is if they are unconscious. The officer is basically given consent to take a blood sample from someone who is in a coma or unconscious or unable to prevent or refuse. Under Arizona law, if a suspect is being treated by a hospital, an officer is entitled to a sample of blood taken by a medical professional, for medical purposes.