DUI Search Warrants For Blood Testing

Roger Priest is a criminal defense attorney in Vancouver WA with extensive courtroom experience in Washington’s complex criminal laws

The most common way to prove a DUI in Washington is by proving that a person’s “blood alcohol concentration” is above the legal limit. This is usually done by breath testing.

How can breath testing prove blood alcohol concentration?

It might seem strange that we can test blood by testing breath. The reason this works is that your lungs have millions of capillaries that exchange blood and air back and forth. So, if your blood has alcohol in it, it will transfer alcohol into your breath.

It still begs the question, “Aren’t there better ways to test the content of blood?”

Of course! Testing blood directly is always more accurate than testing breath.

So why don’t we just test blood?

The reason is it takes more work. Washington police test breath because it is less work for them than to test blood.

How so?
Thanks to Washington’s Implied Consent law, you are legally required to provide a breath sample if arrested for DUI. The same is not true for a blood sample. A blood sample can only be taken if you consent or if the police officer gets a search warrant for your blood. Getting a search warrant for your blood requires lots of time, paperwork, and a brief hearing with a judge. This can take as little as 30 minutes to accomplish, but it is more work than simply offering you a breath test at the station.

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DUI blood search warrant Vancouver Washington

If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

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DUI Search Warrant Process

Often, search warrants in DUI cases are pretty straight-forward. If the officer needs to seek a search warrant, they have a template warrant that they fill out. This warrant affidavit has check boxes and blank lines. This helps them fill it out quickly so they can make fewer mistakes. Once the warrant affidavit is complete, they often call the on-duty judge for a telephonic warrant hearing. During that hearing, they are audio recorded. They then read the warrant affidavit to the judge. The judge then decides whether there is enough evidence to grant the search warrant.

Search warrants must meet certain requirements to be granted. It is the judge’s role to decide whether the search warrant affidavit provides enough information to be granted.

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