How To Challenge A DUI Blood Test

Law Blog

If you have been charged for drunk driving, the police may have ordered a blood test to measure your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and figure the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Several factors determine BAC level including strength of the drink, body weight, and gender. Many people believe the blood test results are accurate and cannot be contested, but they can be challenged. Here are some ways to challenge a DUI blood-draw test.

Rising BAC Argument

Alcohol commonly takes 45 minutes to three hours to absorb into the bloodstream, and this level may keep on rising even after you have stopped drinking. Alcohol doesn't take a long time to absorb into the bloodstream because it is quickly processed by the small intestine. Then, the liver cells' enzymes have to work overtime to break it all down.

The highest legal BAC limit allowed is .08. If your BAC result showed .10, it could have been lower while you were driving. In other words, the last drink you had may not have gotten into the bloodstream when you left the bar, but then it was quickly absorbed and your BAC level shot up when you were just about home. If this is the case, you may be able to use the Rising BAC argument.

Chain-of-Custody Defense

Police are required to give a detailed list of those who handled the blood sample and its location. The chain of custody includes the person who draws the blood, qualifications of the person who draws the blood, time and location of the sample, circumstance in which the blood gets drawn, the lab technician and their qualifications, and the proper storage of the sample.

When the sample is transferred to another person, a document must be signed with the date and time establishing that the sample was accounted for at all times. If you find gaps in this transferal, the sample could have been tampered with, so the results will be thrown out of court.

Improper Storage and Unqualified Technicians

How a blood sample is stored can negatively impact blood test samples, which gives false results. The typical way to store blood samples is with a vacutainer, a sealed vacuum device, to protect it from contamination. Temperature changes cause fermentation, which can falsely increases the BAC in the bloodstream. Vacutainers must be replaced if they are passed the expiration date, or they won't give accurate results. Some technicians may neglect this step.

The test should be administrated by a qualified technician, who knows where to stick the needle. If anyone other than the technician drew blood, such as a police officer, your case could get dismissed because the results couldn't be trusted. 

DUI laws are complex, and it pays to have a DUI lawyer to represent you in this situation. However, you can see that fighting a blood test is not impossible. 


29 January 2016

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