DUI Blood Tests

Georgia DUI Blood Test

Helping Clients Challenge DUI Blood Test Results in Drunk Driving Cases

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on the results of a blood test, you have a right to mount a defense against the charges and force the prosecutors to prove that the results are accurate and that your driving was impaired.

There are many ways a Blood Tests may be incomplete. These include:

  1. Was the blood test kit within its certification date?
  2. Was the blood drawn on site, prepared using the correct chemicals?
  3. Did they mix the blood sample using the proper procedure to ensure the preservation of the sample before testing?
  4. Was the blood test transported and preserved properly before testing? etc.

The George McCranie Law Firm is based in Valdosta & Douglas, GA and serves clients throughout southeast Georgia. Having defended clients against DUI charges since 1998, we understand how a DUI blood test in Georgia should be determined and how to challenge the results in court.

Refusing a Roadside Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Test

Roadside breathalyzer tests and field sobriety tests in no way constitute any kind of scientific evidence. They are fundamentally meaningless. You can refuse to take them and they will not be entered as evidence against you in court. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that refusing a roadside breathalyzer is no longer “self-incriminating”. In other words, it cannot be assumed that you were drunk merely because you refused the test.

If you are arrested and taken back to the station, you will need to take another blood or breathalyzer test depending on whether the police officer believes you are drunk or on drugs. You can still refuse this test, but there is an automatic one-year suspension of your license for doing so. What you can do instead is ask that an attorney be present and then give you explicit consent to take the test. You can also ask that the test be administered against by an independent third party.

In some cases, if you ask for an attorney, the police may infer that you are refusing to take the test. Don’t let them infer this. Tell them explicitly that you will take the test when your attorney is present. You have every right to do this. If the police refuse to administer the test, despite your explicit consent, you can argue that you did not refuse the test at your ALS hearing. Additionally, you have a right to be informed of the results of this test.

Field Sobriety Tests and Evidence

Field sobriety tests do not constitute evidence against you. They can, however, be used as probable cause to detain you. This is because field sobriety tests give false positives all the time. Some argue that is by design. Needless to say, a good DUI attorney will be able to beat a charge of DUI if a field sobriety test is the only evidence that the prosecution can offer.

Three field sobriety tests include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus
  • One leg stand
  • Walk and turn

They are administered roadside and the police officer “grades” your performance on these tests. But the grading is subjective and does not accurately rule out a number of other possibilities. For instance, standing on one leg and raising your other foot six inches off the ground may be quite difficult for someone who has sustained an ankle injury. Horizontal gaze nystagmus can be an indication of a number of eye or neurological disorders. The walk and turn is not a very good measure of anything at all.

You can refuse to take a field sobriety test and this cannot be used as evidence against you. Nor can you have your license suspended as a result of refusing the test. The officer will, however, likely use your refusal as probable cause to detain and arrest you.

Probable Cause

Since roadside breathalyzers and field sobriety tests are worthless insofar as actual evidence against you goes, their main function is to give the police officer probable cause to arrest you and an administer the blood test which is far more accurate and can be used as evidence against you. While you have the right to refuse any roadside test, you cannot refuse the blood test. If you do, your license will be automatically suspended for one year and the court can order a warrant to extract your blood. The 5th amendment does not protect you here. It only applies to testifying against yourself in court.

Nonetheless, the officer must have some reason to pull you over in the first place. This can be speeding, failing to heed road signs or traffic lights or erratic driving. Without cause, the detention is illegal and anything that results from it can be tossed alongside the case against you.

Understanding How Blood Tests Work and How to Fight Them

While breath tests are used as the primary evidence of guilt in most DUI cases, there are a few types of cases in which blood is drawn and head-space gas chromatography — a blood testing method — is used instead. The following are the most common of these circumstances:

  • Drug-related DUI: If the police suspect that you have been driving under the influence of drugs, they may draw blood in order to test it for a variety of illegal and prescription drugs.
  • DUI accidents: When the police arrive at the scene of an accident in which a suspected impaired driver is unconscious, they will often draw blood in order to run a DUI test.

Like breath testing, blood testing is far from foolproof. Just because a blood test report shows the presence of alcohol or illegal / prescription drugs, that does not mean you should plead guilty. We are experienced at working with credible experts to evaluate blood test results and challenge them in court.

Numbers May Not Lie, But They Do Mislead

Before you hire a DUI attorney to defend you, you should ensure that they understand the process of testing involved in DUI blood, urine, and breath samples. Suffice it to say, it is not an exact science. It is, on the other hand, prone to human error, contamination, and, under the right circumstances, your attorney can get the evidence thrown out or cast reasonable doubt on its veracity.

The process should go something like this:

  • A trained professional must conduct the draw. The sample size must be exact. In cases where the sample size is off by even a little, it will render an invalid result and can be contested in court.
  • The equipment must be sterile. If it isn’t, it’s contaminated. That can render an invalid result and be contested in court.
  • The blood sample is then transported to a lab where it is heated in the vial. Alcohol in the sample becomes a gas and is then measured with a gas chromatograph where it determines how much alcohol was in the blood.

The location of the blood sample must be known at every point. If its whereabouts are in question for even a few moments, the integrity of the chain of custody can be called into question. In addition, the sample must be stored properly. If it is not properly stored even for an hour, fermentation can occur making your BAC appear much higher than it actually was.

At that point, the numbers must be interpreted correctly. You have a right to order your blood test. Law enforcement cannot refuse this request. If they do, your blood test can be thrown out. Without the blood test, we can very likely get your case dismissed.

Numbers May Not Lie, But They Do Mislead

Before you hire a DUI attorney to defend you, you should ensure that they understand the process of testing involved in DUI blood, urine, and breath samples. Suffice it to say, it is not an exact science. It is, on the other hand, prone to human error, contamination, and, under the right circumstances, your attorney can get the evidence thrown out or cast reasonable doubt on its veracity.

The process should go something like this:

  • A trained professional must conduct the draw. The sample size must be exact. In cases where the sample size is off by even a little, it will render an invalid result and can be contested in court.
  • The equipment must be sterile. If it isn’t, it’s contaminated. That can render an invalid result and be contested in court.
  • The blood sample is then transported to a lab where it is heated in the vial. Alcohol in the sample becomes a gas and is then measured with a gas chromatograph where it determines how much alcohol was in the blood.

The location of the blood sample must be known at every point. If its whereabouts are in question for even a few moments, the integrity of the chain of custody can be called into question. In addition, the sample must be stored properly. If it is not properly stored even for an hour, fermentation can occur making your BAC appear much higher than it actually was.

At that point, the numbers must be interpreted correctly. You have a right to order your blood test. Law enforcement cannot refuse this request. If they do, your blood test can be thrown out. Without the blood test, we can very likely get your case dismissed.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney at 912-384-2889

Analyzing blood test results is a complex and technical process, but we are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to defend our clients against their DUI charges. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office today at 912-384-2889 or by e-mail.