ACTIONS AGAINST POLICE
Can The Police Take A Blood Sample For Drink Driving At The Hospital?
If you have been injured in a road traffic accident and the police suspect you of drink driving, they may request a blood sample. However, there are strict procedures that must be followed when taking police blood samples taken in hospital. Therefore, it is important to know your rights and to contact DPP Law’s experienced criminal defence solicitors immediately for expert legal advice if you have provided a police blood sample at the hospital.
The Legal Basis For Requesting A Police Blood Sample
In suspected drink driving incidents, the police are well within their rights to request a blood sample if they suspect you of driving whilst over the drink drive limit, even if you have been admitted to hospital for an injury. However, they can only do so if your medical practitioner agrees to it and you give your consent. The police must also provide you with a verbal warning that should you not consent, you will be charged with failure to provide a specimen.
Circumstances For Police Blood Sample Requests
Breath testing devices are not typically available in a hospital environment, which is why a blood test is the likeliest course of action. Therefore, if the police have reason to believe that alcohol was a contributing factor to your road traffic accident and subsequent injuries, they will pursue a blood test. Just remember that while you are a hospital patient you are afforded additional ‘protection’, which is why procedures are so strict in these instances.
There are certain circumstances where you can legitimately refuse to a sample being taken. One notable example is a phobia of needles. However, you must be able to provide evidence of a genuine phobia of needles.
Your Rights When Requested To Provide A Police Blood Sample
As we have already touched on above, you have certain additional individual rights when faced with a police blood sample request during your stay in hospital. For example, your medical practitioner must consent to the blood sample being taken. If they deem that a blood sample should not be taken due to medical reasons, the police cannot proceed. They will also require your consent, which must be sought with a verbal warning.
Of course, there will be circumstances when a person is unable to provide their immediate consent because they are unconscious or the extent of their injuries prevents them from doing so. In such cases, the police can request for the sample to be taken and, should the medical practitioner give their permission, the sample can be taken.
However, the police blood sample cannot be sent to a laboratory until you are capable of consenting, have been informed that a sample was taken, and have agreed to the sample being sent for analysis.
Can The Police Take Blood Samples Without Consent?
The only time the police can take a blood sample without your consent is if you are unconscious. However, in such cases, they must have the express permission of a medical practitioner first. Even then, they still require your consent to send the sample to a laboratory. However, if you do not consent to providing a sample, you run the risk of being charged for failing to provide a specimen, which is considered a serious offence in the eyes of the law.
What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Police Blood Sample?
The consequences of refusing a blood test can be dire, depending on the circumstances. Punishments can range from an unlimited fine and a minimum driving ban of 12 months, rising to five years if you have a previous conviction for a drink driving or alcohol-related offence within the last ten years. The most serious instances can lead to a maximum prison sentence of up to six months.
Can I Challenge The Admissibility Of The Police Blood Sample Results In Court?
Yes, in certain circumstances. If the police did not follow the correct procedures then a blood sample may not be admissible in court. A delay in analysing the sample may also affect the admissibility of the sample. This is because blood is an organic material and will naturally decompose, leading to fermentation. In other words, alcohol is created in the blood. Any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the Streamlined Forensic Toxicology Report (SFR1) presented at the first court hearing can also lead to the CPS dropping the case.
If you have been asked to provide a police blood sample at the hospital and are worried about facing prosecution, contact DPP Law’s criminal defence solicitors today. If the police did not follow procedures correctly or mistakes were made at the testing stage, we will uncover any issues and use them to prepare a robust drink driving defence to get the charges against you dropped at the earliest possible opportunity.
Contact us today on 0333 200 5859 to speak with our expert criminal defence solicitors.