Section 32-5A-194

Chemical tests; admissible as evidence; procedure for valid chemical analyses; permits for individuals performing analyses; persons qualified to withdraw blood; presumptions based on percent of alcohol in blood; refusal to submit; no liability for technician.

THIS SECTION WAS AMENDED BY ACT 2021-498 IN THE 2021 REGULAR SESSION, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2021. THIS IS NOT IN THE CURRENT CODE SUPPLEMENT.

(a) Upon the trial of any civil, criminal, or quasi-criminal action or proceeding arising out of acts alleged to have been committed by any person while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, evidence of the amount of alcohol , controlled substance, or other impairing substance in a person's blood at the alleged time, as determined by a chemical analysis of the person's blood, breath, oral fluid, or other bodily substance, or any combination thereof, shall be admissible. Where a chemical test or tests are made, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) Chemical analyses of the person's blood, breath, oral fluid, or other bodily substance to be considered valid shall have been performed according to methods approved by the Department of Forensic Sciences and by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the Department of Forensic Sciences. The court trying the case may take judicial notice of the methods approved by the Department of Forensic Sciences. The Department of Forensic Sciences may approve satisfactory techniques or methods to ascertain the qualifications and competence of individuals to conduct the analyses and to issue permits which shall be subject to termination or revocation at the discretion of the Department of Forensic Sciences. The Department of Forensic Sciences shall approve permits required in this section only for employees of state, county, municipal, and federal law enforcement agencies, and for laboratory personnel employed by the Department of Forensic Sciences.

(2) When a person shall submit to a blood test at the direction of a law enforcement officer pursuant to Section 32-5-192, only a physician , a registered nurse, a paramedic, a phlebotomist, or other qualified person may withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content or the presence of other impairing substances. This limitation shall not apply to the taking of breath or oral fluid.

(3) The person tested may at his or her own expense have a physician, qualified technician, registered nurse, or other qualified person of his or her own choosing administer a chemical test or tests in addition to any administered at the discretion of a law enforcement officer. The failure or inability to obtain an additional test by a person shall not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the test or tests taken at the direction of a law enforcement officer.

(4) Upon the written request of the person who shall submit to a chemical test or tests at the request of a law enforcement officer, full information concerning the test or tests shall be made available to him or her or his or her attorney.

(5) Percent by weight of alcohol in the blood shall be based upon grams of alcohol per 100 cubic centimeters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

(b) Upon the trial of any civil, criminal, or quasi-criminal action or proceeding arising out of acts alleged to have been committed by any person while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, the amount of alcohol in the person's blood at the time alleged as shown by chemical analysis of the person's blood or breath shall give rise to all of the following presumptions:

(1) If there were at that time 0.05 percent or less by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, it shall be presumed that the person was not under the influence of alcohol unless the person was operating a motor vehicle in performance of his or her duties as a school bus driver or day care driver at that time or was under the age of 21 years at that time.

(2) If there were at the time in excess of 0.05 percent but less than 0.08 percent by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, this fact shall not give rise to any presumption that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but this fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol unless the person was operating a motor vehicle in performance of his or her duties as a school bus driver or day care driver at that time or was under the age of 21 years at that time.

(3) If there were at that time 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, or greater than .02 percent if the person was operating a motor vehicle in performance of his or her duties as a school bus driver or day care driver at that time or was under the age of 21 years at that time, it shall be presumed that the person was under the influence of alcohol.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the introduction of any other competent evidence relating to the question of whether the person was under the influence of alcohol.

(c) If a person under arrest refuses to submit to a chemical test or tests pursuant to Section 32-5-192, evidence of refusal shall be admissible in any civil, criminal, or quasi-criminal action or proceeding arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

(d) No physician, registered nurse, phlebotomist, paramedic, duly licensed chemical laboratory technologist or clinical laboratory technician, fire department, rescue squad, private ambulance company, or medical facility shall incur any civil or criminal liability as a result of the proper administering of a blood test when requested in writing by a law enforcement officer to administer such a test.

(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §9-103; Acts 1988, No. 88-660, p. 1058, §1; Acts 1995, No. 95-784, p. 1862, §2; Acts 1996, No. 96-341, p. 416, §2; Acts 1996, No. 96-705, p. 1174, §2; Act 2021-498, §2.)