DUI Blood Test at the Hospital and Its Implications for Prosecution
Attorneys in Washington DC explain the problems with using a hospital or medical blood test in a DUI case to prove impairment. Learn how to beat the blood test!
DUI Blood Tests
Imagine you’re in a car accident. You’re not at fault, and you feel okay, but the police officer on the scene says you need to take a blood test. You have no idea what could happen if you refuse, so you agree. Your phone is ringing the next thing you know, and an unknown number is on the screen.
It’s the hospital calling to inform you that your blood test results are back, and they show that your systems’ blood alcohol content was high at the time of the accident. Now what? Can you be arrested for DUI based on those results? And how might this impact your pending case?
You could probably check out a few websites for DUI case information and find some exciting facts within a short period. But if you’re like me, you would instead dive into an informative article like this one about DUI blood tests at hospitals with limited time.
What Is a DUI Hospital Blood Test?
The DUI hospital blood test is part of law enforcement officials’ process to determine whether or not a driver is driving under the influence (DUI).
DUI charges can result in severe fines, jail time, and other penalties. In addition, while the DUI charges are pending, individuals may face difficulties getting to work, school, and other obligations.
DUI laws in some states require a mandatory whole blood alcohol concentration test for suspected offenders. Medical professionals perform these tests as part of an emergency room visit. They can be more accurate than other DUI evaluation tests, but they have limitations.
What Happens During a DUI Blood Test?
When officials from law enforcement suspect that an individual is under the influence while operating a motor vehicle, they may require that person to submit to a blood test at a local hospital. They will take the driver to the emergency room or another hospital area for this test.
A qualified medical professional will collect a sample of blood from the driver’s arm or another body part for testing purposes.
Standardized hospital blood tests can detect many substances that might cause impairment during driving. These may include blood alcohol level, opioids, marijuana, and other drugs.
Whole blood consists of a mixture of solid particles (red blood cells, white blood cells, and clotting platelets) suspended in a liquid called plasma. The percentage of solid particles by volume is called the hematocrit. For example, a hematocrit of .47 would indicate that 47% of the blood volume comprises solid particles, and 53% is plasma.
Are Blood Test Results Admissible in DUI Cases?
In most cases, chemical blood test results are admissible in court. However, there are situations where they might not be admissible:
If there is evidence of inappropriate handling of the sample by medical professionals, for example, if it was contaminated or otherwise mishandled.
If there is reason to believe that a lab did not correctly analyze the blood sample, for example, if they used the wrong method to analyze or if the lab-made errors in its analysis.
If they do not conduct the blood test within a reasonable time, such as conducting it more than two hours after the scene.
How Long Are DUI Blood Test Results Valid?
The question of how long are DUI blood test results valid is a complex one, as it depends on several different factors. The precise answer to this question is that they can be valid for years. But there are several reasons why this may not be the case.
To understand how long are DUI blood test results valid, we need first to understand how professionals conduct the tests and what makes them effective in the first place.
How to Conduct DUI Blood Tests
DUI blood tests require that a medical professional take a sample of your blood, and then a laboratory staff will analyze the samples for serum alcohol concentration. This process typically takes several hours and involves several must steps for the samples to be accurate and reliable. Alcohol can be detected in a blood test for up to 12 hours.
What Makes the Results Effective?
The accuracy and reliability of DUI blood testing results are dependent upon several different factors, including:
The time between the arrest and when they take the sample.
The time it took for the sample to reach the lab after being collected.
The amount of alcohol in your system at the time of the arrest.
The level of alcohol intoxication you exhibited at the spot.
Whether or not there’s a conviction.
Who Pays for DUI Blood Tests?
Even if you’re not the one who gets arrested, a DUI arrest can cost you.
Usually, it’s the person driving who is charged with impaired driving. However, that person also has to pay for any damages when they’re arrested — like a broken window.
But there’s another way you could get stuck paying for a DUI arrest. If an officer asks you to take a blood test and refuses, you’ll have to pay for the test yourself. This is true whether you’re the driver or a passenger in the vehicle.
A DUI lawyer can aid you if you find yourself in such circumstances.
Do You Have to Take a Blood Test for DUI?
The short answer is that no, you typically do not have to take a blood test for DUI. However, there are some exceptions. First, we have to look at the types of blood tests available.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is often tested by law enforcement using a breath test. This is a pretty standard method, and it is commonly used in DUI cases because it’s cheap and easy. When they convict you of DUI, the court can use the results of this test as evidence.
They can also use a blood test to check your BAC. They could do this at the station after an arrest or at the hospital if you are under medical treatment for injuries related to an accident while intoxicated. If you refuse to take one of these tests, law enforcement can get a warrant from a judge and force you to give a sample regardless.
The third type of blood testing is for drugs and alcohol. This is also known as an “implied consent” test, and it involves testing for substances other than alcohol, like narcotics or prescription medication not prescribed to you by your doctor. If you refuse this type of testing, your license will be suspended automatically under implied consent laws.
Because an excellent attorney-client relationship is needed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us as soon as possible and get a free consultation.
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