If you were recently arrested for
DUI in Orange County, you likely submitted to a
breath or blood test. Which test is better? The general consensus among DUI attorneys is that
if you had nothing or very little to drink, you should take a blood test
because it’s more accurate.
On the other hand, if you’re pretty sure that your blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) is over the limit, then you should opt for a breath
test because these are notorious for being “less reliable”
than blood tests.
With the above in mind, many DUI defendants mistakenly believe that if
someone takes a blood test, the results are not open to questioning. In
other words, they assume that a blood test with a .08% or more
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading is a slam dunk for the state. Wrong! This perception is
not based on reality, but rather from a
lack of scientific knowledge.
What Can Go Wrong?
Believe it or not, just the manner that a blood sample is collected or
drawn can diminish the integrity of a blood sample. In fact, studies have
shown errors that can lead to false positives reaching 50%.
Drawing blood is a sensitive medical procedure, and often the people performing
the blood draw have very limited training in the medical field.
Despite their white lab coats or scrubs, a lot of these people have completed
no more than a 40-hour course and 40-hours on-the-job training. In effect,
lack of training can lead to a compromised specimen.
Blood Storage Errors
The manner of which blood is maintained prior to analysis is another source
of error that leads to false positive results. A common error: bad protocol
leads to delays and improper storage of blood specimens – conditions
that facilitate the fermentation of yeast, bacteria and sugar in the blood.
Much like wine, these substances ferment into alcohol in your blood. In
this case, the fermentation process in the blood specimen gives a false
high reading of what was in the defendant’s veins.
Errors in Testing the Blood
Generally, forensic labs analyze blood specimens using a Gas Chromatograph
machine, which delivers results in a presumptive determination of alcohol,
rather than a confirmatory method specific to alcohol.
This method cannot discern between alcohol present in the defendant’s
vein, or alcohol formed during the delay, before the blood was analyzed.
Hire a Board Certified DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested for DUI and you took a blood test, know that the results
of these tests are not foolproof. DUI defendants can fight the allegations
made against them, as they are often based on false evidence.
If you need representation fighting a DUI, you should
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. Attorney Virginia L. Landry
is a regent for the
National College for DUI Defense, she serves on the Board of Directors for the
California DUI Lawyers Association, and she is
Board Certified in DUI defense!