Challenge Blood Sample Results in a California DUI
When it comes to DUI's, blood is the most accurate test that the police and prosecutors can use to try to determine whether somebody was a .08 or greater in order to charge them with a DUI or driving under the influence. Sometimes there can be issues with the blood though, and sometimes the defense has to challenge the blood result in order to get the right result for their client.
The first thing I do is ask the client how many drinks they've had; look at their weight; look at their height and really try to get a field for whatever the blood result is, whether that makes sense.
Having done thousands of DUI cases over the last twenty-five years, I usually have a pretty good feel and pretty good idea, if my client is honest with me, about what their blood alcohol level should be — if they've had two drinks, three drinks, four drinks, five drinks.
Also, another thing that I think really impacts whether they're going to be prosecuted for a DUI is whether they ate any food at or around the time that they had the drinks, because food really does change the game, and so does water as far as DUI's go and how your body absorbs the alcohol.
If you have a lot of alcohol at the same time and then shortly thereafter drive your car, and you don't have any food, then obviously you're going to put yourself in a pretty bad position as far as a DUI goes.
Blood Testing by Independent Expert
Once I have all of the information related to the client, I know what the blood result is, then I really have a good feel for whether or not we need to do any further testing by using an expert, by doing what's called a blood split where you take some of the blood that's left over and have your own expert check that blood.
Number one, they have the right result; and number two, whether there's any contamination related to that blood sample, because if there's contamination in that blood sample, there could certainly be contamination in the blood sample that the prosecutors are trying to use to prove the person is guilty of a DUI.
Really, when you talk about blood and you talk about using blood as a defense, you're not going to do that in every case. First of all, not everybody gives blood in every case, and in the cases that they do give blood, you want to talk to your client and evaluate everything before you make the decision whether or not to hire an expert and spend the money and time trying to figure out if they have the right result.
For example, if the person said they had ten drinks and their blood alcohol level was a .15 for example, that would probably make sense. In fact, that would probably be too low.
So, why would you do a blood split at that point unless you were just in dire straits and had to try to do everything you could, then you'd be doing the blood split. Not necessarily to refute the fact the person had a high blood alcohol level because that sounds about right if they had that many drinks, but you would be trying to look for some sort of contamination that you might be able to use to upend the case and say that the result is completely unreliable because of the contamination related to the particular blood sample related to your client.
Attacking DUI Blood Tests Is Often An Effective Defense
Whenever I deal with these blood issues, blood splits, and trying to challenge the blood in a DUI case, I'm always going to rely on an expert to look at everything, talk to me about it, talk to the client about it before making any final determinations on exactly how we're going to challenge the blood.
You don't just challenge every single case. It's got to make sense. There's got to be evidence that supports what you're trying to claim and it's got to be a situation where if you're successful, you can at least mitigate the case and maybe even win the case if you're successful with the blood challenge.
So, before you go marching down that road and spend the money and the time and get your hopes up, obviously you want to have talked to your attorney about it. You want to have talked to an expert about it, reviewed the police report on the case and really done your homework, research and investigation before moving ahead and trying to challenge the blood in a DUI case.