PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- A new law that took effect Aug. 1 in Washington allows State Patrol troopers to have blood drawn from drunken driving suspects, even if they won't give it voluntarily.
Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins says this allows repeat drunken driving cases to be handled as felonies from the time of arrest. Felony DUI carries a 5-year sentence, versus 1-year for misdemeanor DUI.
Troopers who receive appropriate training can administer the blood draws, as well as medical professionals and other trained responders. Calkins also says dispatchers have been trained to check records and let troopers know when they have stopped a felony suspect.
The Kitsap Sun reports a blood sample was taken early Sunday from a 30-year-old Port Orchard man after he was stopped for swerving in traffic. Records showed it would be his fifth DUI in 10 years.
Correction: This story was updated to state that the law permits officers to administer blood tests if they have received appropriate training.