The best ways to challenge a blood test in a DUI case
One of the most intimidating aspects of defending a DUI case is dealing with blood test evidence. For some reason a blood test determining a blood alcohol level has a scientific aura about it that some defense lawyers don’t want to deal with. But like a breath test there are basic issues that should be investigated in determining ways to challenge the blood test. Here are some basic questions that must be answered in order to properly investigate the blood test in any Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI case.
Was the blood testing equipment faulty or otherwise not maintained properly?
Was the nurse or phlebotomist who took the blood properly certified to do so?
Did the nurse or phlebotmist sterilize the blood draw site with an alcohol based product?
Did the vial of blood contain the proper levels of anticoagulants and preservatives?
Was the blood test taken too long after the driving to determine whether the driver was actually under the influence within 2 hours of driving?
Was there a break in the chain of custody, specifically looked at who handled the blood test kit from the nurse, to the cop, to the toxicologist?
Did the blood ferment after it was taken, which means that it can actually create it own alcohol which would cause higher results?
Lastly was the blood stored in a proper manner?
Now keep in mind these are just issues to consider in trying to find ways to challenge the results of the blood test. I previously blogged about the best ways to beat a Seattle DUI here. However in case you didn’t read it every DUI case can be challenged via the reason for the stop, whether there was enough evidence to ask the driver to exit, whether there was enough evidence to arrest the driver, and whether there was a warrant to have the blood sample taken.
Every DUI is different. But if you stick to these issues to investigate than you will cover about 90% of the DUI case and will be in a good position to possibly uncover some legal issues either to raise at a motion hearing, during negotiation with the Prosecutor, or even ways to raise reasonable doubt during a jury trial.
_ About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle, WA. He has been repeatedly named a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor only 2.5% of lawyers in Washington State receive. He is also rated a 10/10 by Avvo.com a nationally known lawyer rating service and listed as a Superb DUI Lawyer in Seattle.