Following an arrest for a DUI, law enforcement may request that you take a blood test. You may choose to consent or not consent to the blood test, but there are consequences for refusing a blood test. If you doubt the accuracy or validity of your blood test, then you can challenge your blood test. Challenging a West Palm Beach DUI blood test can be difficult to do alone which is why it is important to work with a qualified DUI attorney. Your lawyer could help you challenge your blood test and work tirelessly to build your DUI defense.
How and Where Are Blood Tests Done?
Blood tests are typically conducted in a hospital or other medical environments by a licensed phlebotomist or a registered nurse, someone who is trained and qualified in the taking of blood. It will take place in a hospital by a medical technician. Law enforcement does not draw the blood. Instead, the police take custody of the blood and submit it to a lab for it to be tested. It will be done in a hospital by a qualified person and it is going to be done immediately after the incident. However, if for any reason, a person is suspicious of the accuracy of their results, they have the option of challenging a West Palm Beach DUI blood test.
Circumstances Where an Officer Can Request a Blood Test
There are several circumstances where an officer can request for blood to be drawn. An officer can request for blood to be drawn when a breath test would be impractical or impossible. A scenario where that occurs often is that there is a traffic accident and the person is suspected to be driving under the influence but they are receiving medical treatment and they are not going to be out of the hospital for several hours.
A breath test would be impractical or impossible because there are no Intoxilyzers at the hospital and they cannot get the person out of the hospital because they have not been medically cleared. In that situation, the officer would request for blood to be drawn.
Another situation where an officer can request for blood to be drawn and can, in fact, force blood to be drawn is when there is an allegation of a serious bodily injury or death. At that point in time, the officer has the right to a forcible blood draw, does not need to request. They can literally strap the person to a chair and forced to take blood from the person when someone has been seriously injured in a crash and unfortunately killed.
Accuracy of Blood Tests in Determining BAC
The accuracy of blood tests in determining blood alcohol content depends upon the sample that was given, how it was tested, and when it was taken. Blood test results tend to be reliable if they are conducted properly. Even though they are reliable, a person has a right to what is called a split sample of that sample – of that blood test – and they have the right to send it off to another lab to make sure that it is correct. If a person gives a blood sample and the toxicology lab says that their BAC was slightly over the legal limit it might be a good idea to have the lawyer request a split sample of that blood test to send it to an independent lab to verify that the results are the same or, if they are different, use it to their advantage. In the event that there is a disparity between the independent lab’s results and the state’s results, challenging a West Palm Beach DUI blood test is an option.
Accuracy of Blood Tests When Determining Drug Impairment
Blood tests are relatively accurate when testing for drugs. If a person has controlled substances or pharmaceuticals in their blood, it is going to show up in the blood. If it is in the blood, that means it is in the person’s system and could be impairing them, but it also depends upon the person and the dosage. For example, there are people who take anti-psychotic medication or anti-anxiety medication on a regular basis and have built up a tolerance to it.
There are people that take Xanax every day, sometimes multiple times a day, once or twice a day, and it is their daily dose and what they need to function. It does not mean that they are impaired but when it shows up in a blood test, the prosecutor and the government will assume that that person is under the influence of that drug because it should not be in their blood even though they have a prescription for it.
Valid Reasons to Refuse a Blood Test
A justifiable reason for why a person may refuse a blood test is the same reason they would refuse a breath test; they do not want to give any incriminating evidence. They do not want to give any evidence that might help the government to prove their case against them. They may believe they have a right to privacy and do not want to give their blood. There are many reasons why a person would not want to give a blood test. Unless the person is involved in an accident with serious bodily injury or death, the person has a justifiable reason to refuse a blood test if that is what they want to do.
Steps a DUI Lawyer Can Take to Challenge the Results of a Blood Test
The steps that a DUI lawyer will take when challenging a West Palm Beach DUI blood test would be to go through the process starting from the initial request for blood. Your attorney may question if the test was appropriate, whether you consented or not and so on.
When they go to the testing of the sample itself, an attorney will look at the person who is doing the testing, the instrument that is being used, the testing. They check everything out to see whether or not the result is accurate and reliable. They want to go through these results and the process by which the sample was given the entire process, go through with a fine-tooth comb to see if they can find anything to challenge the method of testing or the test itself. A lawyer could take each of those steps in order to challenge the results, and build a solid DUI defense for you.