Can a blood sample be taken to determine if a suspect was intoxicated?

18 April 2018

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

A person is detained in custody for a serious offence. Can a sample of blood be taken to determine whether the person under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offence?

Answer:

Section 62 of PACE creates a power for the police to take to take intimate samples with consent.

'62(2) An officer may only give an authorisation under subsection (1) or (1A) above if he has reasonable grounds -

(a) for suspecting the involvement of the person from whom the sample is to be taken in a recordable offence; and
(b) for believing that the sample will tend to confirm or disprove his involvement.'

 

PACE, Code D, paragraph 6.2 reiterates this.

Taking samples for the purpose of determining intoxication, not related to confirming or disproving their involvement in an offence, will not satisfy the provisions above and so no authority to take the samples can be given

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