Evidential Blood and Urine Specimens Police Procedure

Drink Driving Police Procedure - Evidential Blood & Urine Specimens

Evidential Blood and Urine Specimens Police Procedure




Evidential Blood & Urine Specimens

Once a person has been arrested for an alcohol related road traffic offence and if for any reason(s) an evidential breath specimen cannot or should not be required or provided and unless a suspect has failed or refused to supply an evidential breath specimen for analysis without reasonable excuse (failing to provide a specimen for analysis), a blood or urine specimen will then be required.

s. 7 ss(3) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] states:

Provision of specimens for analysis.

[...]

(3) A requirement [...] to provide a specimen of blood or urine can only be made at a police station or at a hospital; and it cannot be made at a police station unless-

  1. (a) the constable making the requirement has reasonable cause to believe that for medical reasons a specimen of breath cannot be provided or should not be required, or
  2. (b) specimens of breath have not been provided elsewhere and at the time the requirement is made a device or a reliable device [...] is not available at the police station or it is then for any other reason not practicable to use such a device there, or
  3. (bb) a device [...] has been used (at the police station or elsewhere) but the [police] constable who required the specimens of breath has reasonable cause to believe that the device has not produced a reliable indication of the proportion of alcohol in the breath of the person concerned

[...]

A [police] constable must, on requiring any person to provide a specimen in pursuance of this section, warn him that a failure to provide it may render him liable to prosecution.



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The Evidential Specimen Requirement

s 7 (4) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] gives the police officer making the requirement the power to choose whether the type of specimen required will be one of blood or one of urine, unless a doctor (or medical practitioner) is of the opinion that a blood specimen cannot or should not be taken.

s. 7 ss (4) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] states:

(4) If the provision of a specimen other than a specimen of breath may be required [...] whether it is to be a specimen of blood or a specimen of urine and, in the case of a specimen of blood, the question who is to be asked to take it shall be decided [...] by the constable making the requirement.

Before deciding what type of specimen will be required, the police officer will state:

"I require you to provide me with a specimen of blood or urine which, in the case of blood, will be taken by a doctor (or health care professional). It is for me to decide which it will be unless a doctor (or health care professional) is of the opinion that for medical reasons a specimen of blood cannot or should not be taken, in which case it will be of urine. You may inform the doctor (or health care professional) of medical reasons why a specimen of blood cannot be taken by them, but the matter will be for the doctor (or health care professional) to determine. You will be supplied with part of the specimen if you so require. The other part will be sent to a forensic laboratory for analysis. I warn you that failure to provide a specimen will render you liable to prosecution. Before I decide whether the specimen shall be of blood or urine, are there any medical or other reasons why a specimen of blood cannot or should not be taken by a doctor (or health care professional)?" **

If medical reasons are given and :-

1) if the police officer has no reason to doubt the medical reasons given, the type of specimen to be required must be a urine specimen, OR

2) if the police officer has reason to doubt the medical reasons given, the police officer will then call a doctor (or health care professional) unless one has already been called or one is already present.

s. 7 ss (4A) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] states:

(4A) Where a constable decides [...] to require the provision of a specimen of blood, there shall be no requirement to provide such a specimen if—

  1. the medical practitioner who is asked to take the specimen is of the opinion that, for medical reasons, it cannot or should not be taken; or
  2. the registered health care professional who is asked to take it is of that opinion and there is no contrary opinion from a medical practitioner;

and, where by virtue of this subsection there can be no requirement to provide a specimen of blood, the constable may require a specimen of urine instead.

If a doctor (or health care professional) is called and if upon investigation, the doctor (or health care professional) decides that :-

A) any medical reasons given are justified, then the type of specimen to be required must be a urine specimen, OR

B) any medical reasons given are unjustified, then it will become the police officers decision once again as to whether the type of specimen to be required will be either a urine or blood specimen.


Evidential Blood Specimens

Blood samples MUST be taken by a doctor, medical practitioner or registered health care professional.

If it has been decided that the evidential specimen to be required is to be one of blood. The police officer making the requirement will state:

"I have decided the specimen shall be of blood and require you to provide a specimen. Failure to provide a specimen will render you liable to prosecution. Do you consent to provide a specimen of blood, which will be taken by a doctor (or health care professional)?" **

The suspect must agree to provide the blood sample. If the suspect refuses they will be given a final warning from the police officer.

"I warn you again that failure to provide a specimen will render you liable to prosecution. Do you now consent to provide a specimen of blood, which will be taken by a doctor (or health care professional)?" **

If the suspect refuses to provide a specimen of blood a second time they will be charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

If the suspect agrees to provide a specimen of blood for analysis then a doctor (or health care professional) will draw two 8ml samples of blood from the suspect.

The suspect can choose one of the two samples of blood so that they are able have it privately and independently tested by an analytical chemist of their choice. The other sample will then be sent off to a police forensic laboratory in order to be analysed and for the BAC (blood alcohol content) to be determined. If a suspect does not request one of the samples of blood, both samples will be sent off to a police forensic laboratory, although only one sample will be analysed.


Evidential Urine Specimens

Urine samples DO NOT need to be taken by a doctor, medical practitioner or registered health care professional.

If it has been decided that the evidential specimen to be required is to be one of urine. The police officer making the requirement will state:

"I have decided the specimen shall be of urine. I therefore require you to provide two specimens of urine within one hour. The first of those specimens will be discarded and the second used for analysis. Do you agree to provide the specimens?" **

The suspect must agree to provide the urine sample. If the suspect refuses they will be given a final warning from the police officer.

"I warn you again that failure to provide either of these specimens will render you liable to prosecution. Do you now agree to provide the specimens?" **

If the suspect refuses to provide a specimen of urine a second time they will be charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

If the suspect agrees to provide a specimen of urine for analysis, they will be required to provide two distinct specimens of urine within one hour of the requirement being made, as described in s 7 ss (5) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1]. The first specimen will be discarded and the second will be used for analysis.

s. 7 ss (5) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] states:

(5) A specimen of urine shall be provided within one hour of the requirement for its provision being made and after the provision of a previous specimen of urine.

The suspect can choose to have the urine sample divided and a portion of that sample be provided to them so that they are able have it privately and independently tested by an analytical chemist of their choice. The other portion of the sample, if divided, will then be sent off to a police forensic laboratory in order to be analysed and for the BAC (blood alcohol content) to be determined.


Police Forensic Laboratory Blood/Urine Analysis

Although the maximum legal prescribed limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, in practice those drivers whose blood alcohol level falls below 86mg per 100ml of blood are usually not prosecuted. This is because the police forensic blood specimen analysis procedure produces a series of results using gas chromatography. These results must fall within 3 standard deviations (or 6%) of each other, they are then averaged before 6% or 6mg (whichever the greater) is deducted from the final result. The same reduction is used for urine specimens.

A persons blood or urine alcohol specimen results are then reported back to the police as containing not less than xxmg of alcohol per 100ml of blood/urine.


Bailed Without Charge

Once a suspect has provided an evidential sample of blood or urine they can be detained at the police station and are usually bailed without being charged. This is because there will be insufficient evidence as to their BAC (blood alcohol content) levels to bring charges against them, that is, until the specimens provided have been analysed and their BAC levels can be scientifically proven.

They are usually bailed to return to the police station on a specific date at which time the police forensic laboratory results should be available. If the blood or urine analysis proves they exceeded the legal limit they will be charged accordingly.


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Reference:

[1] Road Traffic Act 1988

** The exact wording any police officer uses when making any requirements may differ depending upon the specific circumstances under which the requirement is being made.

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