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DUI Blood Tests


DWI/DUI Blood Tests

While breath tests are most commonly used in DUI-DWI arrests, some states will permit the officer to choose what type of test to use. Some states (South Carolina) require a breath test to be offered if the suspected impaired driver is conscious. If the driver is unconscious, a DUI blood test may still be done. However, in other states (Georgia) the officer is permitted to use the test of his choice or choose to have all tests completed – breath, blood, AND urine. A DUI blood test can often be seen in cases where the officer suspected drugs could be a factor to a driver’s impairment, either as a single contributing element or in addition to alcohol or other drugs. Both prescription and illegal drugs can lead to impairment and possible conviction. When blood is taken for analysis, the samples are usually sent to a state-administered lab for testing. The samples are commonly processed by gas chromatography (GC), if testing for alcohol, or gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), if also testing for drugs. Gas chromatography is used to separate the blood mixture into individual components so they can be evaluated against a known “standard.” Mass spectroscopy allows for the ability to characterize each component. By using a GC-MS device, labs are able to determine if any alcohol and/or drugs are present, and if those drugs are illegal or prescription.DUI blood tests can also be done at hospitals. Many hospitals use alternative methods of testing because they are quicker. In emergency situations, hospitals simply do not have the time to set up proper testing facilities for evidence purposes. One of the biggest differences with their methods is only testing blood serum instead of a complete blood sample. Many legal challenges could be raised on grounds for lab tests that are potentially less reliable than the state’s methods and lab facilities. An experienced DUI-DWI trial attorney will be well informed with challenges, both scientific and legal if less consistent methods of testing are used.

The Supreme Court has ruled that police may, without a warrant, order blood drawn from an unconscious person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Fourth Amendment generally requires police to obtain a warrant for a blood draw  

Blood testing is considered to be more accurate than breath tests. However, labs are operated by people and people make mistakes. Most states have regulations in place stating how these tests should be done with guidelines on how samples are transported, preserved, and processed.

Some states have strict laws on who, how, and where the DUI blood tests are done. Other states, such as Mississippi, have laws that are slightly more vague for the required procedures with blood testing. This can cause difficulty in accumulating legal challenges from the defendant. A few issues that could occur with blood samples could include poor preservation, machine errors, loss of documentation for a chain of custody of samples, or even simple mix-ups with vials.

Knowledgeable DUI-DWI lawyers know how to fight blood tests and all obstacles involved. The complexity of tracking the life-cycle of samples can be tricky, but missing imperative steps could result in a case of acquittal due to the blood test no longer being admissible evidence. Don’t agonize if you were subjected to a blood test during your DUI-DWI arrest. This could a benefit to your case if you hire a highly skilled DUI-DWI defense attorney. TeamDUI.com attorneys are available 24 hours a day. Call 1-844-TEAM-DUI (1-844-832-6384) for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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