Can I Beat a DUI Blood Test?

In Blog, chain of custody, DUI blood tests, DUI laws, Trial issues by Evan Watson

Despite what cops and prosecutors say, YES, you can beat a DUI blood test. Of course, there is more to every case than just “the number,” but blood tests are not the nail in the coffin they’re made out to be. In fact, my law firm has successfully defended into the hundreds of DUI blood test cases over the past 8 years.

 

How Can Cops Take Blood for a DUI Charge?  blood draw DUI

Under Georgia’s implied consent laws, cops are authorized to have a blood sample done if you are arrested for driving under the influence. All 50 states have some version of implied consent laws that allow a test of your blood or breath (usually) if you are DUI. The gist of implied consent laws are that by driving on public roadways, you impliedly give permission to testing of your bodily fluids in DUI situations. While cops can take blood tests, a lot of times the opt for breath testing, as it can me more convenient for them. If you took a blood test, chances are it was done at a hospital and required an extra hour or more of the cop’s time to obtain.

What Can a Blood Test Tell?

If you’ve had your blood drawn for a DUI charge, the two samples will be sent to the GBI for testing by a state lab. Cops can submit the blood with directions to test for either alcohol or drugs, or both. After an initial screen, the lab will then run a confirmatory test that can quantify the amount of tested drugs in your system. Thus, a prosecutor will eventually receive information about what and how much of any alcohol or drug amount was in your system.

How Can My Attorney Challenge a Blood Test?

One of the biggest areas for challenging a blood test is in the sample’s chain of custody and storage. Once blood is drawn, it is evidence and thus must be properly preserved, or risk being invalidated in court. While the GBI has very specific procedures set out for how they handle and store samples that have reached them, they have no idea how the local police department handled your sample. Therefore, a blood case usually requires at least 2-3 witnesses just to be able to lay a chain of custody for the test. Additionally, the person who drew the blood as well as the lab tech who tested the blood are subject to being called into court to discuss the testing procedure. As you can see, this can quickly add up to create a lot of extra work for a prosecutor with 20-30 cases called into hearings or trial on any given calendar. Earlier this year (2015), I had a blood test case in a small court in North Georgia and the charges were outright dismissed rather than jump through all the necessary hoops of getting the blood result into evidence. Of course, this is rare, but point is: Blood tests can be a pain for prosecutors to successfully get into evidence.

What Charges Could I Face with a Positive DUI Blood Test?

In Georgia, it is illegal to drive with an alcohol level of .08 or higher if you are 21 or older.  A blood test will quantify the amount of alcohol in your system, so if you’re over, you’ll be charged with DUI Per Se.  Additionally, since blood can test for most drugs in your system, you can face a DUI drugs less safe charge if your blood result comes back with other drugs in your system.  It is important to note that it doesn’t matter whether the drugs are prescribed or not, you can still be charged with DUI Drugs Less Safe.  In either case- whether illegal or not- the prosecutor must prove you were incapable of driving safely in a DUI Drugs case.  It is not enough to merely have the drug in your system.  For example, many people drive on prescribed narcotics or anti anxiety medications.  In a prosecution for DUI based on these type drugs, the prosecutor must show you could not drive based on the use of these drugs.  Being within therapeutic levels and having an established history of using the drug can certainly help support your case in this situation.

If you have been charged with a DUI after submitting to a blood test, call me today to begin discussing your defense.  I can be reached directly at (404) 590-6642,