Lawyer: Phlebotomists on-scene with Las Vegas police will lead to more DUI convictions

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 11:04 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Las Vegas police are making a big change to make sure DUI drivers don’t get away with it come trial time. One attorney telling FOX5 to expect more convictions.

“I think the net result of this, quite frankly, is more convictions. It is not that the police aren’t catching people or administering blood tests, it’s just that there are logistic problems,” said Matthew Hoffmann, Partner at Battle Born Injury Lawyers. Hoffmann represents victims of DUI crashes and thinks Metro’s new policy will make a big difference.

“From a legal perspective, what it really does is it narrows the possibility of getting around a DUI for technical reasons,” Hoffman shared.

Starting Saturday, October 1, 2022, phlebotomists will patrol with LVMPD nightly to conduct blood samples on the scene of a suspected DUI instead of having to take a suspect to a hospital for a blood draw.

“Generally speaking, if it is within two hours it is automatically admissible… After 2 hours, that’s kind of a magic number where now you need to have a forensic toxicologist to provide testimony to calculate what the blood alcohol would have been at the time the person was driving,” explained Hoffmann. Getting those experts to testify in court is expensive.

“There is just not sufficient funds for the D.A. to retain forensic toxicologists over, over, and over,” Hoffmann contended. Having a phlebotomist on scene to quickly take blood will eliminate that issue.

“The police right there at the scene, they get on the phone with a justice of the peace or magistrate judge, and they get a verbal warrant... Once they have a warrant there is nothing else to decline... You will have your blood drawn from you, forcibly if necessary,” Hoffmann relayed.

Hoffmann believes as more DUI drivers are convicted, word will get out and people will be more reluctant to get behind the wheel while impaired.

“This is Nevada’s version of zero tolerance essentially. If you get pulled over and you are over a .08, they are going to find out and the chances of you getting away on a technicality like a delayed blood test are essentially gone,” Hoffmann assessed.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer, you automatically have your license suspended for one year by the DMV. The phlebotomists patrolling with Metro started as a pilot program on weekends, holidays, and at DUI checkpoints. Metro received more than half a million dollars in grant funding to pay for phlebotomists seven days a week.