Earlier this month, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals in ruling that a Defendant is not entitled to an affordable blood test. During a DUI arrest, the officer will give you the opportunity to contact a criminal defense attorney and request that you submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. After that test, the officer is required to offer you the chance to obtain an independent blood test. This independent test can be useful if you believe that the machine at the jail has potential flaws in determining your true blood alcohol level via your breath. In Comm. v. Riker, the Defendant, Riker, was taken to obtain the independent blood test he was offered, but was informed that UK Medial Center charges $450.00. Unfortunately, Riker only had $100.00 and was therefore unable to pay for his independent blood test. The Supreme Court ruled that:
the alleged violation of KRS 189A.105(4) arises from the price of the test, which is completely out of the officer's control. Although the $450 cost of the blood test at issue here is concerning, it is not the prerogative of this Court to establish or regulate prices on medical services. Most importantly, the narrow holding in Long only extends to cases where satisfying the purpose of the statute requires only minimal police assistance. Riker has failed to argue that any additional assistance whatsoever by Officer Steele could have resulted in Riker obtaining a blood test. Therefore, we cannot conclude that a statutory violation occurred here.
I agree with the Court that it is absolutely “concerning” that an independent blood test is $450.00. Sadly, this appears to be a problem without a solution. Do you think the Court reached the correct decision?