Breathalyzer Blood & Urine and Field Sobriety Tests

DUI Defense Attorneys

Just because a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test indicates you have a blood alcohol count (BAC) above the legal limit does not necessarily mean that: 1) it’s accurate; 2), that the officer was legally justified in giving you the test; 3), that the test was conducted properly; and 4), that the results are admissible in court. In order to give you a test of some kind, an officer first needs to conduct a field sobriety test after reasonable suspicion justifies your being pulled over. If an officer believes you might be drunk, he can administer field sobriety tests to establish probable cause to arrest you for DUI. If the field sobriety test is not administered properly, the DUI charge against you may be dismissed. And, if it can be shown that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place, your DUI charge may be dismissed as well.

At attorneys Cro & Rue we understand how to identify and expose mistakes on the part of officers and forensic tests that compromise the validity of a DUI arrest. To discuss your DUI arrest and possible defenses for your case, contact DUI defense attorneys link to Cro & Rue today.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are used to determine if an officer has probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. Most police departments use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Manual as a standard for giving field sobriety tests. The manual lists countless instructions for what an officer is supposed to do if a suspect raises his arms more the 6 to 8 inches, if he stops momentarily, of shifts his balance to one leg. There are additional instructions regarding the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) or eye test and how the straight line walking test should be conducted and evaluated. Additionally, a field sobriety test should be given on a level, dry surface. If it was given on an incline, near broken pavement, or during inclement weather, it may be dismissed as inadmissible at trial.

Breathalyzer Tests and DUI Arrests

Most police departments use the Intoxilyzer 5000 to conduct breathalyzer tests. The Intoxilyzer 5000 operates according to Henry’s Law that assumes a blood alcohol ratio of 2,100 parts to every 1 part of blood. In recent years, a number of forensic experts have called the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 5000 into question and have demonstrated how mouthwash or the use of certain medications can register a false-positive using the Intoxilyzer 5000. Additionally, if the mouthpiece is not changed between breathalyzer tests or if a suspect is not observed 20 minutes prior to the test, the results may be unreliable or inadmissible. Further, like any piece of equipment, breathalyzers must be properly maintained and calibrated regularly. If the breathalyzer used in your arrest wasn’t maintained as scheduled, its results may not be reliable.

Blood Tests and DUI Charges

When a blood test is given, a suspect is typically taken to a hospital. Law requires that the testing center must be certified and follow specific procedures. By law, a blood test should be given within two hours of a person’s arrest. While blood tests are more reliable, they too can be tainted: did the person taking your blood wipe your arm with alcohol first? Was a blood test kit used? If so, was it expired? When the sample was taken, was it composed mostly of plasma or whole blood?

When blood is taken, drugs may also be found in the sample. However, since traces of drugs can show up in a blood test weeks after you last used them, just because you tested positive for illegal drugs doesn’t mean you were driving under their influence. Any amount of illicit drugs found in your system will result in a DUI charge. For this reason, it’s essential to contact an attorney who can discuss your case and the options available to you.

Urine Tests and Drunk Driving Charges

Since water can remain in a person’s body over a longer period of time, urine tests are not as accurate as blood or breathalyzer tests. This is especially of concern in cases where a person’s BAC is near or slightly over .08%. However, urine tests can detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Unfortunately for a suspect, certain over-the-counter medications can trigger a false-positive reading for drugs. Here, it’s necessary to work with an experienced DUI attorney who understands the shortcomings of urine tests and how to call their results into question.

Contact DUI Defense Attorneys Cro & Rue

Our attorneys understand the forensic issues involved in blood, urine, and breathalyzer tests. We also make a point of checking the site of a field sobriety test to see if it complies with the standards as set forth in the DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Manual.

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