Our clients frequently ask us whether blood-alcohol testing, whether by analysis of one’s blood, or by the use of an approved breathalyzer machine at the police station is accurate. Blood alcohol testing in driving under the influence of alcohol cases is carefully regulated by the federal government under Title 17, setting forth specific guidelines for all blood alcohol testing, which must be scrupulously followed by the police, or hospital to ensure the accuracy of any sample taken and analyzed in a Los Angeles county DUI arrest.
The primary purpose of these procedures is to create a uniform set of guidelines to be followed, thus directing law enforcement throughout the state of California to adhere to these very specific government standards. In a Drunk Driving case where the defendant has submitted a blood sample to be tested for alcohol, or drugs, the government must document all of the specific procedures used from drawing the blood sample to having it analyzed by a state approved laboratory.
It is critical that an experienced Drunk Driving defense lawyer review the documentation and correctness of the procedures followed by the police in their client’s case to ensure an accurate result. Firstly only state licensed clinicians, who have been properly trained in the specific procedures of drawing blood from a driver accused of driving under the influence are allowed to draw blood.
Some years ago, it was determined by the careful scrutiny of defense attorneys, that hospitals in preparation for drawing blood from suspected DUI drivers were using rubbing alcohol on a cotton in some cases to clean the area to be injected. It was determined that this would could increase the blood alcohol reading, thus making it unfairly and inaccurately too high. As a result of this finding, proper procedures were modified to require only the use of non-alcohol related cleaning and disinfecting agents were to be used.
Over the years, and as a result of errors, federal and state guidelines were modified to specifically and carefully identify the vials drawn from subjects, thus reducing the chance ofsmismatching one’s blood to its donor.
Further, proper storage and refrigeration, as well as the use of an appropriate preservative to maintain the freshness of the blood drawn for evidence and possible retesting is required to keep the blood sample from being tainted.
Over the years, our office of DUI defense specialists have come across numerous errors in the drawing of blood which have resulted in dismissals and reductions of our client’s cases. Every case should be carefully scrutinized to ensure the 100% accuracy of any blood drawn that is being used by the state to prosecute a driver.