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Can a Blood Test in a DUI Case be Challenged?

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, this very 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!