July 21, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Express Consent Statute Does Not Require Paramedic Drawing Blood Sample To Be Directly Supervised by Physician at Time of Draw

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Neppl v. Department of Revenue on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

Driver’s License Revocation—Express Consent—Supervision of Blood Draw.

A police officer stopped defendant’s vehicle after he twice failed to use his turn signal. The officer noticed signs of intoxication and defendant admitted to drinking four beers. Defendant failed to satisfactorily perform voluntary roadside maneuvers and the officer advised him of his options under the express consent law. Defendant chose a blood test, which showed a blood alcohol content of .188 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The Colorado Department of Revenue subsequently issued defendant a notice of license revocation. Defendant requested a hearing, and the hearing officer sustained the revocation. The district court affirmed.

On appeal, defendant argued that the statute requires on-the-spot supervision, and the paramedic’s supervisor was not present and supervising him when he conducted the blood draw. Under the plain language of the express consent statute, C.R.S. § 42-4-1301.1(6), a paramedic does not have to be directly supervised by a doctor at the time of the blood draw. Also, the record established that the paramedic was supervised by a doctor. Here, the paramedic was authorized to draw defendant’s blood. Even assuming the statute did require a doctor’s supervision of a paramedic, “under the supervision” is not synonymous with “on-the-spot” supervision. Further, even if the blood draw did not strictly comply with statutory requirements, such deficiency would go to the weight of the test results, not the admissibility.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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