If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, you may be looking at some serious penalties. A vigorous defense can minimize or even eliminate those consequences. It is in your best interest to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side to ensure the best outcomes in your case.
DUI Legal Penalties
If you are asked to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test by a law enforcement officer and you refuse, you are subject to a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. But even one DUI conviction can lead to a record that follows you for years. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could face hefty fines, community service requirements, probation, imprisonment, license revocation, DUI School, and ignition interlock installation on your vehicle. None of these consequences is pleasant.
An officer cannot require you to undergo a field sobriety test or other testing for DUI without probable cause. That means you would have to have committed a fairly egregious driving error prior to being asked to perform any testing.
Challenging the Blood Test
Key challenges to blood tests include:
- Poor training of the person who drew the blood;
- Poor record keeping;
- Missteps in the collection process;
- Discrepancies in the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of driving compared to the time of the blood test.
Since the blood test is a key piece of evidence that will be used against you, challenging the veracity of the blood test results is an important piece of your defense. Clearly, the integrity of the blood specimen could be affected by the manner in which it was drawn. In all likelihood, the person who collected the sample had only about 40 hours of training. Nonetheless, you are asked to trust your future to their competence. How soon after the arrest was the blood drawn? Your BAC level may increase as time goes on, making your level at the time of the draw significantly different from the level at the time of driving. Preservative powder of the right type and amount must be used to ensure fermentation does not occur in the tube of blood. Anticoagulant powders must also be added in the correct amount, and the mixture must be properly stored. If errors in these procedures occur, the results of the blood draw may not be accurate.
What about after the blood is collected? If it is not properly refrigerated and stored, false positives may be the result. Once the blood reaches the lab for analysis, further errors may occur. The Gas Chromatograph used to measure alcohol content in the blood may confuse other compounds for alcohol. Even when it measures alcohol content correctly, it cannot determine whether the alcohol detected was formed during the delay or whether it was actually in the person’s body at the time of collection, let alone at the time of driving.
Finally, forensic labs do not regularly study and report error rates for this type of testing. It seems ridiculous to let your future rest on the results of such an arbitrary system.
At Aiken, O’Halloran and Foley, our knowledgeable team knows just what to look for when examining your arrest record. We will fight to ensure the best outcomes for our clients. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.