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CRS 42-4-1304

Colorado Samples of Blood or Other Bodily Substance – Duties of Department of Public Health and Environment - Rules

Colorado statute CRS 42-4-1304 outlines the responsibility of the Colorado Department of Public Health for obtaining samples of blood and other bodily substances from those deceased after involvement in a crash. The statute outlines who can obtain a sample, when they need to obtain it, and for what the obtained sample needs to test.

Awards & Recognition

Penalties for Official Misconduct in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
First-degree official misconduct Misdemeanor


Class 1:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to 364 days in jail
Second-degree official misconduct Petty Offense
  • Up to $300 in fines
  •  Up to 10 days in jail

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 42-4-1304:

(1) The department of public health and environment shall establish a system for obtaining samples of blood or other bodily substance from the bodies of all pilots in command, vessel operators in command, or drivers and pedestrians fifteen years of age or older who die within four hours after involvement in a crash involving a motor vehicle, a vessel, or an aircraft. For purposes of this section, “vessel” has the meaning set forth in section 33-13-102, C.R.S. No person having custody of the body of the deceased shall perform any internal embalming procedure until a blood and urine specimen to be tested for alcohol, drug, and carbon monoxide concentrations has been taken by an appropriately trained person certified by the department of public health and environment. Whenever the driver of the vehicle cannot be immediately determined, the samples shall be obtained from all deceased occupants of the vehicle.

(2) All samples so collected shall be placed in containers of a type designed to preserve the integrity of a sample from the time of collection until it is subjected to analysis.

(3) All samples shall be tested and analyzed in the laboratories of the department of public health and environment, or in any other laboratory approved for this purpose by the department of public health and environment, to determine the amount of alcohol, drugs, and carbon monoxide contained in such samples or the amount of any other substance contained therein as deemed advisable by the department of public health and environment.

(4) The state board of health shall establish and promulgate such administrative rules and procedures as are necessary to ensure that collection and testing of samples is accomplished to the fullest extent. Such rules and procedures shall include but not be limited to the following:

(a) The certification of laboratories to ensure that the collection and testing of samples is performed in a competent manner, which may include waiving specific certification requirements for laboratories that are accredited by a nationally or internationally recognized accreditation organization that includes the scope of forensic toxicology; and

(b) The designation of responsible state and local officials who shall have authority and responsibility to collect samples for testing.

(5) All records of the results of such tests shall be compiled by the department of public health and environment and shall not be public information, but shall be disclosed on request to any interested party in any civil or criminal action arising out of the collision.

(6) All state and local public officials, including investigating law enforcement officers, have authority to and shall follow the procedures established by the department of public health and environment pursuant to this section, including the release of all information to the department of public health and environment concerning such samples and the testing thereof. The Colorado state patrol and the county coroners and their deputies shall assist the department of public health and environment in the administration and collection of such samples for the purposes of this section.

(7) The office of the highway safety coordinator, the department, the Colorado state patrol, and the division of criminal justice within the department of public safety have access to the results of the tests of samples taken as a result of a traffic crash for statistical analysis. The division of parks and wildlife has access to the results of the tests of samples taken as a result of a boating accident for statistical analysis.

(8) Failure to perform the required duties as prescribed by this section and by the administrative regulations and procedures resulting therefrom shall be deemed punishable under section 18-8-405, C.R.S.

Have you been charged with official misconduct in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

The first thing you need to know about violating the regulations for obtaining samples of blood and other bodily substances is that the consequences can be serious. Beyond the fines and possible jail time, violating this statute could compromise your public service job or even result in civil actions. A conviction for this infraction requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you collected samples improperly due to a willful act or negligence. To defend yourself against violating regulations for obtaining blood samples and other bodily substances, it’s important to understand how the law applies and what the El Paso County District Attorney needs to prove.

Call now if you have been Arrested

Frequently Asked Questions

Can involuntary blood samples be collected after a car accident in Colorado?

In certain car accident cases in Colorado—like vehicular homicide, criminally negligent homicide, or vehicular assault—blood samples can be obtained without the defendant’s consent.

What do they do with your blood after testing it?

Once the blood sample has been tested and reviewed, and a report has been made on the pathologist’s findings, the sample is disposed of as bio-hazardous waste.

How long is blood evidence good?

Typically, if a blood sample cannot be tested within an eight-hour window of the sample being collected, it needs to be put into cold storage for up to seven days.

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