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Wisconsin Court Weighs Whether Medical Records Can be Subpoenaed in DUI Cases

It is well-established that the police must either obtain a warrant or consent to conduct a blood test on a person suspected of DUI. Thus, the results of a warrantless blood test that was administered without a defendant’s knowing consent may be suppressed. In some instances, though, the prosecution will attempt to obtain the results of a medical blood draw via a subpoena to use as evidence against a DUI defendant. Whether they should be permitted to do so was the question recently presented to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. While the ruling will have no bearing on Illinois law, it may illustrate how courts throughout the country will resolve the issue in the coming years. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is advisable to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer regarding your potential defenses.

The Wisconsin Case

It is alleged that the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently evaluated the question of whether prosecutors can use subpoenas to obtain the results of blood tests they believe will establish guilt in a DUI case if a warrantless blood draw taken the same night was barred from admission into evidence. In the subject case, the defendant crashed into a building and tree. An officer found him in a yard near the accident and noted that he smelled of alcohol. He was taken to the hospital, where his blood was drawn for diagnostic purposes.

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested for DUI, and the officer took a sample of his blood without a warrant, arguing exigent circumstances required such testing. The results of the police’s blood test were suppressed via a motion. Prosecutors later issued a subpoena seeking the defendant’s medical records from the hospital. At issue is whether the medical records should be considered fruit from a poisonous tree, or as the prosecution asserted, they come from a different plant than the results of the police test.

Illinois Law Regarding the Subpoena of Medical Blood Tests for Use at Criminal Trial

Illinois statutory law expressly provides that the results of a urine or blood test that is conducted in the emergency department of a hospital may be disclosed to law enforcement agents and may be admitted into evidence by the prosecution in a DUI case. Tests can only be used for such purposes if they were administered in the regular course of providing emergency medical care and not at the request of a law enforcement agent, they were performed by the laboratory the hospital regularly uses, and results of such tests are admissible into evidence regardless of when they were prepared. The Illinois courts have not addressed the discrete issue of whether such tests results are still admissible if the results of another blood test were suppressed in the same case.

Speak to a Trusted Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

People accused of DUI offenses may fear that a conviction is inevitable, but the prosecution faces a high burden of proof in criminal cases, and if it cannot meet it, the defendant should be found not guilty. If you are charged with a DUI crime, you should speak to an attorney regarding your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a trusted DUI defense attorney with the skills and resources needed to help you fight for a just outcome. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a conference.


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