NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled EMTs are authorized to draw blood for DWI investigations. The Office of the Attorney General states in a news release that there were at least six cases on appeal that came about due to similar fact patterns.
In one case, an emergency department technician, also licensed as an EMT, performed a blood draw test on a DWI suspect in Farmington. The defendant, Brian Adams, argued in court that EMTs did not qualify to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers. He cited a statute that says “only a doctor, a nurse, and some technicians” are authorized to draw blood during DWI investigations.
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The district court agreed and barred prosecutors from using the blood test at trial. The news release states that the State appealed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals arguing that based on the medical professional’s employment, training, and experience, as well as the Legislature’s statutory objective to combat driving while under the influence, the Court should find the individual authorized to draw blood relevant.
The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the district court ruling. The Office of the Attorney General states that Adams then sought review by the New Mexico Supreme Court which then affirmed the holding of the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court determined that despite not literally working in a “laboratory” such individuals are qualified to draw blood as a “laboratory technician” under the statute as long as they were employed to draw blood by a hospital or physician and have the appropriate training and experience.