Washington State Troopers Are Now Being Trained to Draw Blood to Help Reduce DUIs

dui blood draw test tube
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) continues to take steps to help prevent individuals from driving on Washington roadways under the influence. To aid in their efforts, the WSP recently ran a test program where 21of their troopers were trained as licensed forensic phlebotomists. This means they now can legally conduct blood draws on individuals arrested for DUI once a warrant from a judge has been issued.

You might be thinking, “How did WSP troopers become licensed phlebotomists in such a short amount of time, and how will this change the way DUIs are handled? And what IS a forensic phlebotomist anyhow?”

Accelerated Learning

Typically, to become a licensed phlebotomist, one would need to complete one full semester of classes, which is approximately 15 weeks.

As for the WSP troopers, they attended a 50-hour class at Bates Technical College. The troopers were required to complete all the necessary steps to become licensed Forensic Phlebotomists in accordance with the Washington State Department of Health.

While the course is a valid way for officers to become legally licensed forensic phlebotomists, it lacks the depth that other, longer certification courses offer as all of the material needs to be crammed into just 50 hours. It’s also not a medical license or certification in any way.

Forensic Phlebotomy was invented by the Washington State Legislature in order to facilitate officers drawing blood when nurses, doctors, and other medical assistants and phlebotomists won’t. Often they have ethical objections to drawing blood on an otherwise healthy individual. Police officers have no such ethical duty under their forensic phlebotomy license.

Reshaping the Way That Washington DUIs Are Handled

WSP troopers being licensed forensic phlebotomists will undoubtedly change the way that DUIs are handled in Washington, in more ways than one.

Drawing Blood

Before the new program, an individual arrested on suspicion of DUI with a warrant to draw blood would have to be taken to a local hospital or the jail to have their blood drawn by an appropriate medical professional. This caused additional stress on local hospitals, who often had ethical concerns about drawing blood to gather evidence, and kept WSP troopers off the road for extended amounts of time.

Blood Test Tube Recalls

Blood tests are often tricky to deal with for a number of reasons. One recent example is an entire batch of faulty test tubes leading to test tube recalls. When the integrity of a blood test tube is compromised, the results are contaminated, rendering the test unviable.

Complex Cases: We’re Here to Help

DUIs are a challenge to handle, and with these changes, they will become even more complicated. With the middleman (trained medical professionals and phlebotomists) cut from the equation, WSP troopers now have more control over the way DUIs are handled.

Yes, officers still need to obtain a warrant to draw blood following a DUI arrest. However, they now have the ability to draw blood themselves once they have received a warrant. This could lead to a drastic increase in the number of DUI arrests across Washington, both legitimate and illegitimate.

We understand that you likely have questions following these new changes, and the DUIHeroes team is here to help. Call us today (425) 296-9358 to discuss your situation with our team over the phone.

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