Police now able to get blood tests quickly from DUI suspects who refuse breathalyzers

There will be no getting out of DUI’s in McHenry County.

Police are implementing a new program to immediately draw blood from suspects who refuse breathalyzers.

If you're pulled over for DUI in McHenry County now and refuse a breathalyzer, police will be after your blood and because of new technology, they can get it quicker than ever before.

Police call it a new tool in taking impaired drivers off the roads. Nine departments in McHenry County say if you're pulled over for DUI and refuse a breath test, they will immediately seek a warrant reaching a judge right away through video conferencing. If granted, the suspect is taken to a nearby hospital and their blood drawn and tested.

States attorney Patrick Kenneally says two-thirds of drivers pulled over refuse a breath test.

"And I want to make sure simply somebody doesn't want to cooperate with the investigation that they're not allowed to obstruct a prosecution and that we have all the evidence that we need to hold people accountable,” Kenneally said.

And given that they can get a warrant right away, police and prosecutors won't have any blood on their hands.

"The only issue that would come up is sort of a warrantless search or an unreasonable search and seizure. By virtue of the fact that we're seeking a warrant prior to seizing a person's blood there's no potential for any sort of problems,” Kenneally said.

But defense attorney Bob Hannaford says, legal or not, it goes too far.

"They're deputizing health care professionals in the emergency room. They're having to take blood draws against people being brought in voluntarily. And plus there's already sanctions against people who refuse to take a breathalyzer,” Hannaford said. "What's next? Maybe get police officers who are phlebotomists and just do the blood draw right on the curb. I don't know."

The other issue Hannaford has is that it could overcrowd emergency rooms and burden nurses. Supporters say better to have a suspected drunk driver come in for this, rather than victims of a drunk driving accident.

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