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Understanding the Blood Test

It is illegal to drive in this state with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if you are an adult or 0.01% if you are under 21. There are a number of tests that can be administered when an officer pulls a car over on the side of the road. They may involve basic standardized field sobriety tests, or may more inquisitive ones such as a breathalyzer or blood test. Blood tests are administered to individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and they asses the level of alcohol within the suspects system. By obtaining a license in the state, applied consent is given for testing in the event of a lawful arrest for drunk driving.

Blood Collection Law

Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations states a number of techniques that need to be adhered to during blood testing. Samples must be taken by venipuncture as soon after the alleged incident as possible. A trained technician should be the one to draw the blood, since errors during this process commonly lead to insufficient samples. The site should be properly sterilized to prevent contamination and alcohol should not be used since it can add to the level of alcohol found within the individuals system. Any samples taken need to be properly stored or else the evidence obtained may become altered. Samples should also be mixed with an anticoagulant, as well as a preservative. There are many mistakes that can be made in a blood test that may render the sample insufficient.

Challenging Blood Test Evidence

The results of DUI testing, including blood tests, can frequently be incorrect due to improper administration or other mistakes. Some of the more common types of problems found in blood testing include:

  • Using testing kits that have expired
  • Improperly mixing chemicals
  • Inadequate skin cleaning before the draw
  • Blood contamination during the draw
  • Administration of the test by an unqualified person

A DUI blood draw should always be tested by an independent laboratory to validate the government's findings, or to show that the test was inaccurate and should not be used as evidence in the case.

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Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP - Los Angeles DUI Attorney
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