DUI Blood Draws - Beware the Needle!

Posted by Craig Penrod | Oct 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

DUI Blood Draws - Beware the Needle!

If you're like me, you aren't necessarily a big fan of going to the doctor when you know they are going to give you a shot, or draw blood for any kinds of tests.  Something about being jabbed with a needle, even one wielded by a professional, can make one's stomach queasy.  I can only imagine what my clients go through when they are pulled over in the middle of the night and strapped down by an officer with an attitude and poked one or more times while he tries to draw blood.

The stress of a DUI investigation must be tripled when you see an officer coming at you with a needle.  I'm afraid this blog entry isn't going to make it seem any better.

As reported by the, on January 19th of last year, around midnight, Chad McKay, a Gilbert Arizona man was stopped by Gilbert police. They conducted a DUI investigation and subsequently arrested him, citing him with the DUI charge.  In order to determine his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) they transported him to the detention center where one of them attempted to draw his blood.

A blood draw, like a breath or urine test, is permitted under Arizona law after an officer arrests you for DUI. The choice of which type of test you must submit to is unfortunately up to the officer and you have little or no say in the matter.

Mr. McKay submitted to the blood draw but then noticed, about 30 minutes afterwards, that his fingers were tingling and that he felt pain in the arm where they'd drawn the blood.  Mr. McKay still experiences both of those symptoms.  According to his doctors, specialists in hand surgery, the officer who conducted the blood draw misfired and injured Mr. McKay's ulnar nerve.  He is currently undergoing physical therapy, but if the damage is extensive enough, his symptoms will never go away.

In response to this of course, Mr. McKay has hired an attorney and is currently suing the City of Gilbert for $500,000 in damages for gross negligence.  If his condition is permanent, his attorney feels confident that they will succeed.

As I mentioned earlier, the idea of a police officer drawing blood is an unsettling one.  Should local municipalities and counties be required to hire trained phlebotomists and have one on staff for blood draws, such as in Mr. MacKay's case?  It certainly couldn't hurt.  The amount of money the City of Gilbert will pay out in this settlement could equal several years' worth of salary for a trained professional.

The Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 25 years. Craig is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, is AV® rated, the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell®, is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and has been selected for inclusion in Southwest Super Lawyers™ Editions 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation if you find yourself facing criminal or DUI charges.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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