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Defending Blood Tests
You Cannot Drown Truth in Seas of Blood
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. Because of the perceived reliability of blood tests, trials challenging the validity of blood tests occur less frequently than other methods of alcohol testing.
Methods Used to Analyze Blood Samples:
Two threshold determinations are necessary in the process of reviewing the analysis of a blood alcohol test result:
- Was the sample analyzed by a forensic laboratory or by a hospital or clinical laboratory?
- Was whole blood was analyzed, or was plasma or serum analyzed?
Generally, a forensic laboratory will perform a gas chromatography test on whole blood. Frequently a hospital or clinical laboratory will perform immunoassay testing on plasma or serum. Whole blood is blood without any separation of blood cells or without any clotting done to the blood. A forensic laboratory rarely performs analysis on anything other than whole blood. However, occasionally a hospital or clinical laboratory will test the alcohol content of plasma or the serum portion of the blood sample instead of whole blood. The primary reason forensic laboratories test whole blood is that the law prohibits driving with a certain amount of alcohol in blood. Blood is uniformly interpreted to mean whole blood. If a plasma or serum sample is analyzed it must be converted to a whole blood value.
Defending Blood Tests:
- A good criminal defense attorney will know that the validity of the science of gas chromatography is good science. The DUI attorney will make it clear to the jurors and judge that that gas chromatography is a well accepted methodology.
- Because blood tests are a direct measurement of impairment, blood tests come to court wrapped in a certain amount of credibility. Judges, and some jurors, are predisposed to accept the results of blood analysis. A good criminal defense attorney will build on this credibility.
- Similarly, a skilled and well connected attorney will hae an expert testify as to all the preparatory steps that were done before the sample was analyzed by the gas chromatograph. The DUI attornney will make sure the expert discusses the maintenance, calibration and accuracy checks that were done before the testing process commenced.
These are just some of the few methods in which a skilled attorney will defend the credibility of the blood test. As you can see, this can be a technical and confusing process. 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.