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Nurse Arrested for Refusing Warrantless Blood Draw by Police

Sep 28, 2017 by Mike McKneely in Criminal Defense

This summer, a shocking video emerged of a police officer forcibly arresting nurse Alex Wubbels at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her crime? Protecting her patient’s rights against unlawful government intrusion by refusing to perform a warrantless blood draw requested by a police officer. Fortunately, she will not be facing charges. In fact, the local prosecutor’s office may be charging the police officer who arrested her, as he was clearly acting in violation of the law and a working agreement between the local police department and the hospital.

If you’ve suffered mistreatment at the hands of police officers, call our experienced criminal defense attorney at Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442, or contact us online for a free consultation.

How Did the Incident Come About?

On July 26, 2017, nurse Alex Wubbels was treating a patient who had been injured in a car accident. Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne suspected that the patient had been driving under the influence, and wanted to draw blood to use as evidence.

Payne’s body cam captures Wubbels calmly explaining that the officer needed a warrant or the patient’s consent before drawing blood. She tells him that an agreement between the hospital and the police department prohibited drawing blood in this case, and she even puts her supervisor on the phone, who agrees.

At the conclusion of the phone call, Detective Payne exclaims, “we are done, we are done, you are under arrest.” He then grabs Wubbels and forces her into handcuffs as she screams, “you’re assaulting me – stop! I’ve done nothing wrong! This is crazy! This is crazy!”

Even Payne’s partner could tell this was wrong, as he can be heard in the video saying, “I don’t think this arrest is going to stick.” The treatment that Wubbels received is shocking. But what is perhaps more startling is that everyone present except for Detective Payne agreed that he was acting illegally. Regardless, he made the decision to use force against an innocent, unarmed person.

Your Blood Is Protected From Unreasonable Seizures Under the Constitution

The United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely (2013) clearly states that the police cannot draw blood from an unconscious suspect unless they have a warrant, or if there are emergency circumstances that make obtaining a warrant impossible. Police officers across the nation are often well aware of the McNeely decision and other Supreme Court rulings, because if they collect evidence illegally, that evidence cannot be used in the prosecution of their suspects.

Even if Detective Payne had convinced Wubbels to draw the suspect’s blood, the suspect’s lawyer would likely have been able to have the blood test suppressed from the ensuing criminal case because of how the blood sample was obtained.

Salt Lake City (SLC) authorities are taking action against Payne. SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupsky is on record stating that the incident was “completely unacceptable.” Police Chief Mike Brown placed Payne on administrative leave, saying that he was “alarmed” by what he saw in the video. In the end, Payne may face formal charges since the District Attorney’s office announced that it was opening a criminal investigation into the matter.

Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been mistreated by the police and are facing criminal charges, a Fresno criminal defense attorney can help. At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, we will advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are not ignored. Call us today at (559) 443-7442, or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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