State’s attorney’s new policy could speed up blood tests for suspects DUI drivers
A new initiative from the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office offers police another resource in cracking down on drunk drivers, but it could be some time before the program is put to use in Downers Grove.
This week, State’s Attorney Robert Berlin’s office announced a plan to make lab testers available to draw blood almost immediately from suspected DUI drivers who refuse a Breathalyzer test.
Currently, a driver pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence may refuse a breath test. In such cases, police have the option of transporting the suspected driver to a hospital for a blood draw to determine blood-alcohol content, according to an announcement from the state’s attorney’s office.
But that process could take hours, and because the body gradually processes alcohol, time is of the essence in obtaining DUI evidence, according to prosecutors.
“Under Berlin’s new initiative, the officer will now have the option of contacting a private phlebotomist company who will, within one hour, provide a state licensed and trained phlebotomist to draw the motorist’s blood at the local police department,” according to the state’s attorney’s office. “Phlebotomists will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The costs of the test would be charged to the driver. According to Berlin, the program means stronger prosecution of suspected DUIs, and it frees up patrol officers from spending hours in the hospital with the offender.
But it’s not clear how soon Downers Grove police would take advantage of the new program.
Village police recognize the new initiative as another evidence collection tool, spokesman Sgt. Harry Andler said in an email, but before such a procedure is put into place, police would need to develop “an internal policy and procedure for handling such a circumstance,” Andler said.
“Given the complexity of providing for the safety of all involved, we need time to explore implementing the proposed procedure in greater detail,” Andler said in the email.
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