Under Washington law, police must advise individuals of the right to independent testing when a breath test is administered pursuant to the implied consent statute. Under a previous version of the statute, this information was also required for blood tests. A Washington appeals court has recently addressed whether police must still inform of the right to independent testing of blood when it is no longer specifically included in the statute.
The defendant was convicted of vehicular assault as a result of a two-car collision. The defendant appealed, arguing that blood test evidence should have been excluded because he was not informed he had the right to independent tests at the time the blood was taken.
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant caused the accident by crossing the center line. The defendant called 911. The police officer smelled alcohol and noticed signs of impairment at the scene. The defendant went to the hospital by ambulance. The trooper who spoke with the defendant at the hospital also smelled alcohol and observed signs of impairment. The defendant did not respond to the trooper’s requests for a field sobriety test or a portable breath test. Blood was subsequently drawn pursuant to a warrant. The defendant’s blood alcohol content was 0.12 three and a half hours after the collision.