California DUI Blood Test Laws
If you are arrested for suspicion of DUI in California, you will be taken to the police station and asked to take a chemical sobriety test in order to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or to test for the presence of drugs. If you are found to have a BAC of .08% or over, you will be charged with DUI. The results of this test will be used against you in court as evidence that you were driving while intoxicated. If you refuse to take this test, you may still be charged with DUI based on other factors like the results of your field sobriety test. In addition, if you refuse a chemical test, you will face one year of license suspension under the California implied consent law.
In some cases, a warrant will be requested for DUI suspects who refuse a sobriety test. If a warrant is obtained, the suspect will be physically restrained and their blood will be forcible drawn. This is usually only in cases that involve serious injury but police have been using this more and more.
Chemical sobriety tests can be taken in three different ways. For each you will be required to give a sample of one of the following:
Many people prefer to take breath tests to measure BAC when accused of a DUI. Needles can be frightening and the whole process may seem very invasive. There are benefits to opting for a blood test however. Mainly, when blood is drawn it is stored so that your attorney can request a re-test. This is beneficial for several reasons and can later aid in challenging your results and building a defense.
The California Blood Testing Process
In order for your blood to be tested, police must follow certain protocol. These are outlined in California Code of Regulations Title 17 and includes the following steps:
The test must occur in a “Forensic Alcohol Laboratory” that has specific equipment and trained personnel to draw blood.
The laboratory must have a valid license to perform the blood test ensuring that is has at least one trained forensic alcohol employee, maintains quality control standards, and passing on-site inspections.
The test must be performed by a forensic alcohol supervisor, analyst or trainee.
Alcohol should not be used to clean the skin before a sample is drawn nor should it be used to clean any of the equipment used in the process.
Samples should be mixed with a preservative and an anticoagulant.
There are many ways that a blood sample can be contaminated or mishandled during the process.
Challenging DUI Blood Test Results
When a person is charged with a DUI, the strongest evidence against them is usually the results of the chemical sobriety test. If your attorney can put the validity of those results into question, we can establish the reasonable doubt that you need to be found ‘not guilty'. While this may seem like a simple concept, devising a defense strategy is not always easy and takes the skill and experience of a top rated legal team.
We will begin to build your defense by examining your case and looking for possible areas of weakness. If you gave a blood sample to test BAC, we will request the sample be re-tested by an independent lab. This ensures that there is no bias in the results. We will check to if the BAC matches what the prosecution is alleging. We also have the lab check the levels of preservatives in the blood. When blood is drawn, special chemicals are present in the test tube that preserves the integrity of the sample. If these levels are not correct, we can argue that the sample was tainted and your results are invalid.
In addition to these tests, we test the blood for bacterial growth. If the blood is not drawn and preserved correctly, alcohol may actually be created through a chemical reaction after the blood has been drawn from your body. If there is any evidence of bacterial growth, your lawyer can argue in court that the BAC reading was inaccurate. Not every DUI attorney will go to this level of effort to find a defense for you. We are dedicated to your case and getting you a ‘not guilty' verdict.
DUI Defense Attorney in California
If you or a family member have been arrested for driving under the influence and have taken a blood test, know that you have options. You are not guilty until proven so in court. Call our DUI lawyers now to get started. We offer free consultations to all of our DUI clients. Let an experienced legal professional explain to you what we can do to help. It is important to know that you always have defenses. Not every DUI attorney in California is as dedicated to your defense as we are, so do not settle for anything less.