Collecting Blood Samples for DUI Offenses in Virginia
When a person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia, the authorities will collect a blood sample to determine the level of alcohol or drugs in that person’s bloodstream. If the blood sample test reveals the presence of alcohol or drugs, then that person may be legally intoxicated and subject to criminal charges for DUI. Due to the grave consequences of these tests, there are many legal requirements in place to regulate the process of collecting blood samples in Virginia.
Authorization to Take a Blood Sample
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-268.5, only certain people have the necessary qualifications to take a blood sample. Only the following individuals may take blood samples for the purposes of determining alcohol or drug content:
- Registered nurses;
- Licensed practical nurses;
- Graduate laboratory technicians; or
- Technicians or nurses designated by a Maryland court and recommended by a licensed physician.
Process of Taking a Blood Sample
Section 18.2-268.5 also addresses the process of taking a blood sample in Virginia. Before taking the blood sample, the physician or other authorized individual must clean collection site with:
- Soap and water;
- Polyvinylpyrrolidone iodine;
- Pvp iodine;
- Povidone iodine; or
- Benzalkonium chloride.
After cleaning the site, then the physician or other authorized individual will collect a blood sample using sterilized instruments. The sterilization process cannot affect the accuracy of the test. So the physician or other authorized individual must tread carefully here. Many blood sample collectors employ single-use, disposable instruments to combat the risk of infection and inaccurate results.
After withdrawing a blood sample in accordance with the process outlined above, the physician or other authorized individual will test the sample for alcohol or drug content.
Liability for Taking a Blood Sample
Section 18.2-268.5 also deals with liability for injuries or harm connected to a blood sample test. In most cases, the physician or other authorized individual is immune from liability when taking a blood sample. But the physician or other authorized individual must adhere strictly to all legal requirements.
If the physician or other authorized individual acts negligently, however, there is no liability protection. In those cases, the physician or other authorized individual may face the full weight of their negligent act in a court of law.
On a more specific note, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor to repurpose single-use, disposable instruments for a subsequent blood sample test. If a physician or other authorized individual reuses such an instrument, they may face a criminal fine of up to $500.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about blood sample tests and DUI offenses in Virginia, it is prudent to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, showcase proven aptitude in the arena of criminal defense, including the various facets of DUI cases. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.