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Attacking Blood Tests
Blood Is Thicker Than Water: But Is It Really On Your Side?
Blood tests for alcohol are generally perceived to be more accurate than breath or urine tests. The primary reason for this belief is that breath tests and urine tests are indirect methods of determining alcohol levels in blood, while blood analysis is considered to be a direct method. If you want to determine an actual alcohol level by a breath or urine test, from a science perspective, the result must be converted to a blood value by using ratios. However, this may not be required by the law, because the law may define the offense based upon an amount of alcohol in the breath or urine.
So how can you attack the reliability of the blood sample, you ask? A skilled criminal defense attorney will know to focus on the following aspects:
- Attacking the blood test
- The best defense to blood cases frequently rests inside blood vials. The reason for this is that alcohol levels in blood vials can actually increase on their own via the process of fermentation. This fact, combined with errors made in the collection process, are where most blood battles are fought in court. Although volumes have been written about the process of analyzing blood samples, in most instances there are not any compelling arguments for the defense to make about the accuracy of the prosecution’s test results. Nevertheless, the crime laboratory’s analysis process must be reviewed by a defense expert. The defense also needs to confirm the prosecution’s blood alcohol test results by retesting a portion of the sample at an independent laboratory.
- Attacking the blood sample
- Once the steps have been taken to reanalyze the sample, there usually is no serious claim that the value produced by the crime laboratory’s analysis is wrong (except for cases where the alcohol levels are near the margins of the legal limits). On the other hand, conceding that the prosecution’s analysis was done correctly is not the same as saying that the prosecution’s analysis is correct. The issue is what was the defendant’s blood alcohol level at the time of the blood draw, not at the time of the blood analysis. (And, even more importantly, the alcohol level at the time of driving).
A skilled criminal defense attorney well-versed in DUI law will know to ask, in the most articulate and favorable to you way, the following:
- Are the test results reflective of what the alcohol content was in defendant’s body prior to the government’s agents arriving on scene?
- Did the state properly obtain and preserve the sample?
- Did the alcohol level in the sample change between the draw time and analysis time?
- More pointedly, can the proponent of the evidence, usually the prosecution, prove that the alcohol level in the sample did not change?
What Should I Do?
If you’re facing a DUI charge, the first thing you should do is call a skilled criminal defense attorney who is an expert in DUI law. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges carry with them the possibility of both jail time and the loss of driving privileges. As with any criminal case, a DUI defendant makes a major mistake if he attempts to make their way through the system without an aggressive criminal defense lawyer to stand up for their rights. Contact Monder Law today for a free San Diego DUI attorney initial consultation regarding your case. Vik Monder represents clients in throughout San Diego.