The blood alcohol concentration or content level, also called a BAC level, is an important part of a DUI case. The results may be needed to convict a defendant. Contrary to popular belief, BAC chemical test results can and often are challenged in court. Although the concept of blood alcohol concentration and the ways it is tested are founded on scientific research, the reliability and accuracy of these test results can be influenced by many factors. No test is fail proof, and you may be able to use this to your advantage when fighting a DUI charge.
There are three chemical tests for measuring your BAC:
- Breathalyzer test
- Blood test
- Urine test
You will typically have a choice between the breathalyzer and the blood test if you are pulled over for a DUI. The urine test is only available in certain cases when the other two tests aren't available or when the person is on anticoagulant medication or has a clotting disorder. Most people end up taking either the breathalyzer test or the blood test. The results of either of these tests may not be reliable. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Breathalyzer tests check your blood alcohol concentration or content by measuring your breath alcohol. There are several weaknesses to this method. First, the breath sample comes from your mouth. The alcohol levels in your mouth could be higher than those in your blood. Certain foods, diets, and medical conditions have been known to raise alcohol levels in your mouth. These can cause a false high reading on a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer device itself can also produce false positives. The device must be properly maintained and calibrated on a schedule. Officers who use the device must be trained. The test results may be inaccurate when any of these requirements is not met.
Blood tests directly check your BAC. Your blood sample will be taken and stored before it is analyzed. Blood tests are accurate if the sample is collected and handled properly. The State of California regulates how BAC chemical tests can be administered and analyzed. Every person involved needs to be briefed and trained on these regulations. The equipment and materials used have to be in accordance with the regulations as well. Blood samples must be taken in a laboratory or clinic setting by a trained professional. The blood must be prepared and stored properly. Enough blood must be taken so the defendant has the option to have his or her own independent analysis done. When blood isn't collected properly or when it is not prepared and stored in a stable state, the sample could deteriorate. The test results may be compromised if these regulations aren't followed. A skilled attorney may be able to have BAC test results deemed inadmissible as evidence if the accuracy is questionable.
Even though these two chemical tests have varying levels of accuracy, you must choose and complete one. The California DMV will automatically suspend your license for one year if you refuse to take or fail to complete one of these tests. The consequences for refusal are harsh, so it is usually in your best interests to comply with a request. Just because you comply, however, does not mean you cannot challenge the results of the test later on.
BAC chemical test results are just one component in a DUI case. If they are successfully challenged, however, your case could easily be dismissed if there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict you. Speak with an experienced California DUI defense attorney if you question the accuracy of your BAC chemical test results. A skilled attorney may be able to assist you with challenging your test results. A good DUI defense attorney will know the regulations for BAC testing and may be able to find a way you can challenge your BAC chemical test results. It is possible to beat a DUI charge by challenging your test results, but it's very difficult. Speak with an attorney today about your options.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and are facing DUI charges, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to defend your rights and your dignity in court. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.