In most DUI cases, law enforcement uses breathalyzer tests to determine a driver’s breath alcohol content (BrAC). This is because blood tests are generally more expensive for the state to administer.
WHEN IS A BLOOD TEST ADMINISTERED
If a driver has been hospitalized due to an accident, the police will not have the opportunity to perform a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests. The police may ask the driver if they will consent to a blood test. A blood test may also be administered if a driver doesn’t have the lung capacity to complete a breathalyzer test. Although the driver technically has the right to refuse the blood test, under Maryland’s implied consent law, refusal to take the blood test can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
ADMINISTERING THE BLOOD TEST
According to Maryland law, only a licensed nurse or physician, acting at the specific request of a police officer, can administer a blood test on a DUI suspect. The blood draw should be performed at a hospital. Two samples are usually taken, but a third can be requested by the suspect to be used for independent testing. If the suspect is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting, a third sample will be taken so that denying the defendant access to the sample won’t be used as grounds for dismissal in court. The police officer then takes the samples and places them in a blood kit to be transported to a government-approved forensic laboratory for testing.
CHALLENGING BLOOD TEST RESULTS
An attorney can challenge the results of a blood test on a number of different grounds and have these results suppressed at trial. For example, a chain of custody issues often come up. Where has the blood gone after it was drawn? In addition, the blood sample must be refrigerated within 24 hours after it is drawn to prevent the natural fermentation process from increasing the alcohol content of the blood. Faulty or expired testing equipment, untrained laboratory staff, whether IV fluids were given before the blood draw, and whether the lab tested the plasma or the whole blood can all be used as grounds for challenging blood test results.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DUI ATTORNEY
If you’ve been arrested for DUI after a blood test, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer or call us at (301) 321-7277 to schedule a free consultation.