Court Rules that Nurse at Jail Properly Administered Blood Alcohol Test for OWI
The court rejected the defendant’s attempt to suppress the results of his blood-alcohol test in his trial for OWVI, third offense, and OWSL because even though his blood was drawn at the jail in a room adjacent to the booking area and not in a “medical facility,” the procedure complied with the warrant’s requirements and the “implied consent” statute did not come into play.
The defendant’s sample was taken pursuant to a search warrant — “[t]he warrant procedure exists independently of the testing procedure set forth in the implied consent statute.” Further, even if, as under Callon, the court were to incorporate the statute into the warrant, the statute was satisfied where the blood was drawn by a nurse under a doctor’s supervision. “[T]he trial court appropriately considered that defendant’s blood was drawn in a room to the side of the Assessment room, i.e., the booking area, that the nurse performing the blood draw frequently does so and followed protocol, and that while there is a medical office within the jail, it is not uncommon for the nurses to provide treatment throughout the jail when necessary for the safety of inmates, arrestees, and the staff.” Thus, “to the extent that the implied-consent statute’s provisions were incorporated into the warrant, MCL 257.625a(6)(c) was not violated because the blood draw was performed in a ‘medical environment.’”
Defendant also claimed that the trial court erred by denying his motion to “exclude the blood-test results as irrelevant and confusing to the jury where the prosecution did not present expert testimony to explain how his levels of intoxicating substances could affect his ability to operate his vehicle for the purposes of establishing” that he was driving under the influence. However, the trial court properly “determined that the lack of expert testimony went to the weight, not the admissibility, of the evidence.” Even if the court were to accept the defendant’s argument as to the need for expert testimony, any error “would be harmless in light of the evidence of impaired driving independent of” the blood-test results. His OWVI was sufficiently supported by witnesses’ observations of his driving and his responses to sobriety tests. He was not entitled to a jury instruction that his consumption of marijuana could “be presumed legal” under the MMMA.