The issue of chemical tests performed at a hospital on OVI suspects is an important one under Ohio law. We have discussed the warrant requirement in a hospital blood test in a prior post.
If you are involved in an accident and taken to a hospital where chemical tests are done, police cannot get the results of those tests without a warrant. If they do obtain the results without a warrant, there is a good chance those results could be thrown out of court.
Another recent Ohio case explains the issue and the blood and urine results were excluded in a motion to suppress, discussed below.
OVI Suspect Taken to Hospital After One-Car Accident
In this case, the defendant was involved in a single car accident. He was the driver. Police arrived about twenty minutes after the crash and the officer investigating believed the driver may be impaired.
He was being treated by EMTs, so was not placed under arrest. He was not read the 2255 Form and was not asked to submit to any chemical test (blood, urine, breath, etc).
Police Were Given Blood and Urine Test Results Without a Warrant
He was taken to the hospital where blood and urine samples were taken. The trooper requested the results using Form OHP 2795. The police were given the results of the tests by the hospital without a warrant.
Fourth Amendment Violation Where Chemical Test Results Obtained By Law Enforcement Without a Warrant
The court found that an OVI suspect has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her medical records that related to any drug or alcohol test or the result of any such test administered by a medical professional which are stored securely at a hospital.
Prior to obtaining such records, a law enforcement officer must comply with the Fourth Amendment and get a warrant for the test results. Filling out a form is not enough to satisfy Fourth Amendment requirements.
Here, where the officer requested and obtained an OVI suspect’s test results without a warrant was a Fourth Amendment violation. There was no arrest, no consent, no hot pursuit and no exigent circumstances that would have prevented the officer from having time to get a warrant.
Thus, the blood and urine test results were excluded from evidence.
The full text of the decision can be found here: State v. Meadows