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Common Problems with DUI Blood Tests


If you are lawfully arrested by a police officer who has probable cause against you, you automatically give consent to taking a blood test. California’s implied consent law requires individuals to take a chemical test, whether a breath or blood test. Although it is required, there are common problems with this test that you should know.

This test is administered for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Typically, the test should be administered at the time of your arrest and you should be given the choice between a blood or breath test. All aspects of the process should be done according to proper protocol; otherwise your rights may have been infringed upon.

Other possible issues that can arise with a blood test include:

  1. The blood draw – The person who draws the blood from the defendant accused of DUI must have certified training to do a blood withdrawal. He or she must properly clean the skin before the needle was inserted. Isopropyl alcohol can actually contaminate the blood sample.
  2. Plasma was tested, not whole blood - If your plasma was tested, the same amount of alcohol will be contained in a smaller volume of liquid, which can skew the results. Whole blood should be analyzed instead so that a more accurate BAC measurement can be given.
  3. Improper storage – the typical process for drawing blood from a suspect is to use a vacutainer, a sealed vacuum device which helps to protect the sample from possible contaminants. If the storage is faulty, this could be an issue. Each one has an expiration date and if this passes, is no longer a guaranteed sample.

The above and other issues can present serious issues with your DUI charge. At Appel & Morse, our Santa Barbara DUI lawyers leave no stone unturned in our investigations. Contact us at your earliest convenience to get to work at once. We can help you build a powerful defense.

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