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Police Drawing Blood in a Police Station: Failed Roadside Drug Test


Let's suppose that a police officer, in Canada, makes a lawful demand for a test of the driver's oral fluid. The driver provides a sample of saliva which is then placed into a Drager DrugTest 5000. The screening device indicates THC - cannabis.

That detection is for screening purposes. That detection is not good enough for a quantitative analysis of the concentration of THC in the driver's blood. That evidence cannot be used to prove a concentration at a criminal trial. That evidence can't be used to prove that the driver exceeded the legal per se limit for THC or for THC and alcohol.

There is no such thing as a reliable breathalyzer for drugs. You can't currently quantitate BDC (blood drug concentration) from breath.

Someone will have to draw blood and submit the blood to a forensic lab for quantitative analysis probably using gas chromatography. The police officer will make a "blood demand".

Canada's Criminal Code section 320.28, makes it possible for a police officer who has reasonable and probable grounds to make a demand:

(2) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has operated a conveyance while the person’s ability to operate it was impaired to any degree by a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug, or has committed an offence under paragraph 320.‍14(1)‍(c) or (d) or subsection 320.‍14(4), the peace officer may, by demand, made as soon as practicable, require the person to comply with the requirements of either or both of paragraphs (a) and (b):

...

(b) to provide, as soon as practicable, the samples of blood that, in the opinion of the qualified medical practitioner or qualified technician taking the samples, are necessary to enable a proper analysis to be made to determine the person’s blood drug concentration, or the person’s blood drug concentration and blood alcohol concentration, as the case may be, and to accompany the peace officer for that purpose.

But who will draw the blood? Please notice the reference in (2) to "qualified technician". Will it be a doctor or other health professional at a hospital? That's the safest approach. I once watched a disclosure video of a female driver in the United States being forced by police to give a blood sample in a chair in a police parking lot. She had just lost her husband in a car crash. She complained that she needed to be taken to the hospital for any blood test because she had a vein disease - if the person drawing blood didn't use a special venepuncture (venipuncture) needle they could kill her. The police ignored her request. Fortunately she lived through the experience but went to trial, blamed for her husband's death.

If the person is at all uncooperative or intoxicated, will they be strapped to a chair in the police station? Is that safe? Should the driver always be strapped into a special chair for their own safety? Venepuncture is a dangerous procedure. What if the needle breaks? What if the needle gets sucked into the veins?

Refusal in Canada of a proper blood demand is a criminal offence. Refusal now has enhanced penalties.

Our new laws will obviously result in a great deal of difficulty for both police and drivers. My concern is that politicians will err on the side of giving new powers and gear to police but not be concerned about the safety and bodily integrity of drivers. Drawing blood in a police station is far more intrusive than taking a breath sample in a police station.

Here are some YouTube videos from the United States that show some of the challenges that police and drivers face when blood is drawn by police at the police station. These images are disturbing:

#DUI #cannabis #drugtest #police #policestation

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