Many people will remember the nurse in Utah who refused to draw blood in a DUI case under directions from a police officer and was arrested. She subsequently settled a lawsuit for $500,000 and the officer was fired. As a result the Utah legislature tried to fix the problem.
In Anne Arundel County doctors and nurses have also refused to follow illegal directions from police officers. In response, bills were introduced in the Maryland Senate and Maryland House of Delegates to try to fix the problem. The bill would require qualified medical persons to withdraw blood where the driver did not consent to a test after an officer developed reasonable grounds (defined as reasonable articulable suspicion) to believe a person was driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs and there was an accident resulting in a fatality or life threatening injury.
The problem is that the Supreme Court has held in two cases, Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552, 185 L. Ed. 2d 696 (2013) and Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016), that before police may direct a qualified medical person to withdraw blood the officer must have probable cause and a warrant, unless an exception to the warrant requirement such as exigent circumstances or consent exists. However, not every case involving a fatal or life threatening injury will involve exigent circumstances.
The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 where Leonard Stamm testified in opposition at 2:11:46. Stamm testified that the statute would be challenged as failing to comply with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. A hearing was also scheduled before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee for Friday, March 2, 2018 on the House version of the bill, but both bills were withdrawn after the Senate hearing.
If you are charged with a state or federal traffic or criminal case, call 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.
Leonard R. Stamm
Goldstein & Stamm, P.A.
6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 504
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Fellow, National College for DUI Defense
Author: 2015 and 2017 updates to Maryland Evidence: State and Federal by Professor Lynn McLain
“Patience, Perseverance, Persuasion”