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Friday, January 11, 2013

Ind. Law - "Sen. Head Proposes Legislation to Improve Tests for Intoxication"

That is the heading of a press release today:

State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) today announced he is authoring legislation that would improve tests for intoxication in the event of a drunk driving accident.

Senate Bill 168 amends the policy on blood-alcohol content tests to allow any qualified, properly trained individual to take a bodily substance sample and have it used in court. Currently, the law only lets licensed physicians, nurses or advanced emergency medical technicians obtain samples that can be used as evidence.

“This is a loophole that could allow drunk drivers’ fluid samples to be thrown out of court because they weren’t taken by an authorized person,” Head said. “In instances where a victim dies or is seriously injured, that technicality could keep the driver from being held responsible. We must make sure drunk drivers are held accountable in court.”

The bill also specifies that a court is not prohibited from issuing a search warrant to attain a bodily substance sample from an individual suspected of driving while intoxicated.

See this ILB entry from March 21, 2010 about the changes made to subsection (j) in 2010 aimed at "clarifying" the law.

But on Aug. 23, 2010 the ILB posted an entry headed "Blood draw law might benefit from another look by the legislature." It concluded:

Take a look at the entire IC 9-30-6-6, including the changes made to subsection (j) earlier this year.
My thoughts: I got lost half way through. The General Assembly should consider redrafting this entire section to clearly state its intent.
IC 9-30-6-6(j) was amended again in 2012, by PL 77-2012 (HEA 1186-2012), SECTION 3 (p.6)

And 2013's SB 168, if successful, would make additional changes to subsection (j), plus add a new (k).

My view: Rather than limited efforts to clarify and plug loopholes, perhaps IC 9-30-6-6 could benefit from a complete rewrite.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 11, 2013 01:26 PM
Posted to Indiana Law