Blood Test

Under the General Order 9.03 of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), the department sets out the rules for mandatory blood tests for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Other San Francisco Bay Area law enforcement agencies have similar policies, including the California Highway Patrol.

The purpose of General Order 9.03 is to establish the procedures for the chemical testing of non-consensual blood samples taken from persons arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The order was last revised on March 18, 1998 and became effective on April 1, 1998. Many of these procedures have become invalid after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013).

The criminal defense attorneys at Ticket Crushers pay close attention to the procedures used by the San Francisco Police Department. Call us to discuss your DUI case if it involves a blood test result in San Francisco, CA.


Procedures in DUI Blood Test Cases by the San Francisco Police Department

It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department that officers must adhere to certain procedures regarding the non-consensual withdrawal of blood samples from persons arrested for:

  • Misdemeanor DUI under California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23152, or
  • Felony DUI under CVC Section 23152 or CVC section 23175

General Order 9.03 requires that an officer with the San Francisco Police Department who makes an arrest for driving under the influence under Sections 23152, 23175, or 23153 of the State of California Vehicle Code, shall give the arrestee an opportunity to voluntarily submit to a blood, breath, or urine test.

If the person refused, then reasonable force may be used to obtain a sample of arrested person’s blood upon refusal to submit to tests (blood, breath or urine) as per Chemical Test Admonition (V.C. § 23157).

This provision is triggered by a lawful arrest for DUI, which must be based upon the reasonable belief that the person arrested is intoxicated.

In the event of a refusal to submit to a chemical test, the individual (driver) shall be admonished that refusal to voluntarily submit to or complete a chemical test of his or her choice will result in the forcible withdrawal of a blood sample, and that the mandatory license suspension pursuant to §§ 13353 (Implied Consent) and 13353.2 (Administrative Per Se) of the California Vehicle Code will be invoked.

The force used to obtain the non-consensual blood sample must be limited to the amount necessary to obtain the sample and not disproportionate to the need.

Paragraph 4 provides that the sample must be drawn by a medically qualified person, as per Section 23158 V.C., in a reasonable and medically approved manner. All non-consensual blood samples shall be withdrawn by an emergency attending physician or charge nurse at San Francisco General Hospital, or by the jail nurse at the Hall of Justice.


Exceptions to the Rules for Forced Blood Draws in San Francisco, CA

Paragraph 6 explains an important exception to forced blood draws for persons who are hemophiliacs, or who have a heart condition and are using a prescribed anticoagulant, as per Section 23157(b) V.C.

If the person under arrest for DUI refuses to submit to a blood draw based on the fact that he or she is a hemophiliac or has a heart condition and is using a prescribed anticoagulant, then that statement is sufficient for the officer to assume that the subject qualifies for exemption.

Except in cases of a felony DUI, any person under 18 years of age will not be subject to non-consensual chemical testing.


Arrest Procedures Related to a Blood DUI Test

If the individual (driver) is placed under arrest for any felony or misdemeanor DUI under Sections 23152, 23175, or 23153 of the State of California Vehicle Code, then the individual shall be given the opportunity to submit to a chemical test of his or her choice (blood, breath or urine).

The officer will read verbatim the formal admonishment (Chemical Test Admonition [23157 V.C.] located on page 3 of 4 of SFPD 284 (Driving Under the Influence).


DUI Arrestee Taken to the Hospital

If the individual (driver) arrested is in need of medical treatment and is first transported to a medical facility where it is not feasible to administer a particular test of, or to obtain a particular sample of the person’s blood, breath, or urine, the person has the choice of those tests that are available at the facility to which the person has been transported.

If the individual (driver) has chosen a breath test and upon completion of that test, drug use is suspected, officers shall then read verbatim the Drug Admonition located on page 4 of 4 of SFPD 284 (Driving Under the Influence).

The arrestee will then have a choice of a blood or urine test. The officer shall state in his or her report the facts upon which the test was requested [§ 23157 (a)(1) V.C.]


Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing After a DUI Arrest

A non-consensual blood sample will be drawn If the individual (driver) has refused to submit to chemical testing after:

  • Being read the Chemical Test Admonition (23157 V.C.)
  • Being asked to submit to a blood test in a felony arrest situation, or
  • Upon being read the Drug Admonition after submitting to a breath test

DUI Blood Test of an Unconscious Person

Any person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him or her incapable of refusal is deemed not to have withdrawn his or her consent, and a test or tests may be administered whether or not the person is told that his or her failure to submit to the test or tests or the non-completion of the test or tests will result in the suspension or revocation of his or her privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

Any person who is dead and is deemed not to have withdrawn his or her consent and a test or tests may be subject to a test or tests at the direction of a peace officer. See Section 23157 [a] [5] V.C.


Procedures for Voluntary DUI Blood Testing

Section III of the General Order 9.03 explains the procedures for the taking of a voluntary blood sample.

If an individual (driver) is suspected of driving under the influence and voluntarily submits to a blood sampling, the arresting or assigned officers with the San Francisco Police Department shall transport the arrestee to the basement holding cell of County Jail Number 1 at the Hall of Justice, where the test will be administered.

If an individual (driver) is suspected of driving under the influence and has refused to submit to a chemical testing, and will not physically resist the non-consensual blood withdrawal, the arrestee will be transported to the basement holding cell of the County Jail Number 1 at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco where the test will be administered.

The arresting officer will complete the Department of Public Health form, “Test Request for Blood Alcohol Determination Despite the Refusal of the Patient.”

Officers en route to the Hall of Justice in San Francisco shall contact police dispatchers to advise them that they will need the jail nurse to draw blood from the arrestee.

In the event of a mass arrest filling the basement holding area, police dispatchers shall divert officers to the Emergency Department at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH).

In the event of a nursing staff shortage at the Hall of Justice, the head nurse or designee shall contact poilice dispatchers and SFGH to notify them of the situation. A dispatcher will advise the officers and divert the officers to the Emergency Department at SFGH.


Procedures for Non-Consensual Blood Samples

If the person arrested does not consent to the blood test or becomes uncooperative, then the prosecutures in Section IV, or the General Order 9.03, will apply.

If the individual (driver) is suspected of driving under the influence and has refused to submit to chemical testing and is uncooperative and/or combative, then he or she will be transported to the Emergency Department at SFGH and shall remain there for the duration of the test.

In all non-consensual blood withdrawals that involve an uncooperative and/or combative individual (driver), a sergeant or a commissioned officer shall respond to the Emergency Department at SFGH. The sergeant or commissioned officer shall make a determination if additional officers will be needed to assist the hospital staff in restraining the individual (driver) during the withdrawal. The sergeant or commissioned officer shall complete the Department of Public Health form, “Test Request for Blood Alcohol Determination Despite the Refusal of the Patient.” The sergeant or commissioned officer shall insure that no more force of restraint than necessary is used to accomplish the procedure of a blood withdrawal.

The test (blood withdrawal) will be administered under the direction of the senior physician on duty, or his or her designee.

The arresting officer shall articulate in his or her incident report that it became necessary to forcibly remove a blood sample from the subject. The procedure shall be described in the report (i.e., how the subject was secured, resistance, and the amount of force used).

In all cases where the individual (driver) changes his or her mind once the blood withdrawal is about to begin, the individual (driver) will be limited to those tests which are available at that testing site.

Basement Holding Cell at San Francisco County Jail Number 1: If at the time of the blood withdrawal, the individual (driver) changes his or her mind, he or she can then choose and complete either a breath or urine test.

San Francisco General Hospital, Emergency Department: If at the time of the blood withdrawal, the individual (driver) changes his or her mind, he or she would be limited to a urine test at this facility. The arresting officer must warn individuals being transferred to San Francisco General Hospital of this limitation.


Chain of Custody Procedures after a DUI Blood Test

The appropriate testing kits shall be utilized by the officers with the San Francisco Police Department. These kits will be located at the testing sites.

The blood samples obtained will be marked and sealed according to SFPD policy and then placed in the refrigerator in the appropriate box (alcohol or drugs) in the basement holding cell area of the Hall of Justice.


Finding an Attorney for a DUI Blood Case in San Francisco, CA

If you were arrested for DUI in San Francisco, CA, in a case involving either a voluntary blood taking or a forced blood withdrawal, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. Our San Francisco DUI attorneys are experienced in the procedures used in driving under the influence cases by the San Francisco Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies located throughout the greater San Francisco bay area.

Call 1 (866) 842-5384 today to discuss your DUI case. Ticket Crushers can begin your defense today.