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How to Discredit Blood Test Results in an Ohio DUI Case

Blood Tests in Ohio DUI Cases

Blood and breath tests are done by machines that have to be properly calibrated, and they must be carried out by individuals with the correct credentials. A qualified DUI defense attorney may be able to have even chemical test data excluded from trial by discrediting the results based on improper calibration, testing, administration of the test, or other factors.

While blood tests are generally seen as being more reliable than the conventional breath test, the blood test results are still not definitive and could provide a false result that is inaccurate. Any good DUI attorney will investigate how your blood sample was taken, where it was processed, and whether the results of the test could be called into question. Any blood test results that you have from your arrest will be one of the prosecution’s strongest pieces of evidence to use against you at trial, and if your attorney can discredit the results, it could greatly increase the chances of successfully defending your case by leading the prosecution to lower the charges or maybe even have your DUI charges dropped.

What Are Problems With Blood Tests in DUI Cases?

While blood tests are often more accurate than breath tests, they do have several problems of their own. For instance, samples may take days or weeks for results, and your DUI attorney can point out any mistakes made by the law enforcement officer when he administered your blood test. The blood sample results are often the strongest and best evidence that the prosecution may have against you. As a result, if your attorney is able to successfully argue against their admission in court, the prosecution may reduce your charges or even drop them. Without the results, the prosecutor has a much harder job of proving that you were driving under the influence of alcohol and that you were over the legal limit when you were pulled over.

Some potential strategies for attacking your blood sample results include by looking at how your blood sample for the DUI blood test was gathered, stored, and tested. If any of the protocols were broken, your blood test result may not be valid and may be inadmissible in court to be used against you.

Next, if there was a long delay between when you were first pulled over and when you were given the blood test, your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, may have actually risen while you were waiting because your body has had more time to absorb any of the alcohol that had been consumed.

You can also have your blood sample retested by an independent lab of your choosing. If your independent testing is different than the state’s result, your attorney may be able to use this difference in results to discredit the blood results from the state’s test as inaccurate and falsely high.

Importantly, your DUI attorney will not have to prove that you were sober at the time of your arrest, but instead, your attorney only has to call into question the accuracy of the blood test administered by the test. If the DUI attorney successfully calls into question those blood test results, your attorney may be able to convince the court to agree to suppress the blood test results as evidence. Suppressing the blood test results will greatly weaken the prosecution’s case against you and potentially lead the prosecutor to drop the case against you or reduce the charge to something much less serious such as reckless driving.

Your blood test results may be suppressed by the judge if the test or tests were not taken voluntarily and thus unconstitutionally coerced. Other reasons for suppression include if the law enforcement officer collected your sample after the three-hour time limit of the analysis of your blood was not based on a method approved by Ohio law.

Your attorney may also be able to discredit your blood test results if the method used to analyze your blood was not based on procedures which have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal or thoroughly documented by the laboratory pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code section 3701-53-03(A), or if the method used does not have documented sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, precision, and linearity pursuant to the 3701-53-03(A).

Other discrediting factors include if your blood sample was obtained using alcohol as a skin antiseptic, if it was not sealed in a manner to detect tampering, or if it did not contain a label containing your name, date and time of collection, and the name or initials of the person who collected your sample.

The laboratory which performed the tests of your blood must also maintain a copy of the chain of custody of the blood test results for a required three-year period and must retain the blood sample itself for a year.

Your attorney can also discredit the results if the enzymatic and gas chromatographic methods used to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood sample were not checked each testing day for proper calibration with solutions containing ethyl alcohol under the general direction of the designated laboratory director, pursuant to O.A.C. 3701-53-04(D).