Technology speeds collection of DUI evidence

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Some of the most important evidence in a DUI case is blood from suspected impaired drivers, but in some places around Arizona, law enforcement had trouble getting warrants quickly to take those crucial samples.

Now, as the shift from paper to computers continues, the process will move much more quickly.

In the past, police officers, sheriff's deputies, and state troopers faced an obstacle enforcing DUI laws, as getting a search warrant to draw blood to check for alcohol content took several hours, via the old-fashioned paper trail.

Now, electronic warrants are available statewide, and it's a much faster way to go.

"MADD is very supportive of this new process," said Kiley Schneider with MADD. "It allows law enforcement to more quickly detect impaired drivers and get them off the road."

Electronic warrants can be generated at roughly the speed of email. They have been in use in vehicular cases, like DUIs, for several years in Maricopa County. DPS started using them two years ago.

Defense Attorneys, typically on the other side of these cases, are sounding off on this new technology.

"The practice of getting warrants more quickly won't change anything for vast number of cases in Arizona," said attorney Joey Hamby with DM Cantor. "What it will impact are cases in rural counties, where it's hard to get a warrant. I think what it does is promote compliance with the law. You can argue whether the law is just or not, but it will promote compliance with the law the Legislature has passed."

Law enforcement and attorneys on both sides of these cases hoping this new system proves effective.