What Are Common Misconceptions Regarding Blood Draw Cases?
People will often say that a blood draw is more accurate than a breath test and there are reasons for that, especially if you are still absorbing alcohol. A breath test may be higher and you may get a false positive. Blood tests are typically more accurate, however, more things can go wrong with the blood test.
Blood draws can be easier to fight depending on what happens with the testing. There are issues with the chain of custody. They may not be able to explain how the blood got from one place to the next and if the chain of custody is interrupted, that could result in a dismissal of the case or in acquittal at trial and that would be based on the actual blood results not being allowed in or admissible by the court.
Labs can make mistakes with blood draws and there can be contaminants in the devices used which can show up on the chromatograms. Those can be seen as different; they are graphs that come out with these peaks and spikes and if we see certain inconsistencies or red flags, it’s something that can show problems with the accuracy of the blood results.
There are other areas where we can attack blood tests. The labs that are used may not be properly certified or may have issues; sometimes there may not be the proper supervisor supervising the lab, the draw itself, possibly the person who drew the blood did not properly shake the vial but inverted it back and forth a number of times. There may not be enough preservative in the blood, and if we have blood retested, there may be contaminants in the blood.
Another misconception that a lot of attorneys have with blood testing is they think that you should retest any blood test just to check the accuracy. If the case is going to a jury trial, that may not be the best way to go, because what that could do is confirm the accuracy of the blood draw and confirm that there are no contaminants in the sample.
If we’re going in front of a jury and we have not retested the blood, we can still draw or introduce for the jury all the potential problems that may exist in blood testing to show reasonable doubt and if that sample has not been retested, then the doubt can be there, all these things could go wrong. This is a scientific test; it’s not a perfect test. Putting that together with other problems with collection or other parts of the case may be enough reasonable doubt to hang a jury or to get a “not guilty” verdict.
A number of misconceptions with blood testing and having a DUI lawyer who understands these, understands how the machines work, understands where to attack methods, results, accuracy tests is critical if you want a chance to win a blood case.
People need to understand when it comes to finding the right attorney to challenge a blood case that there are plenty of attorneys out there and, unfortunately, a lot of them will be more than happy to plead you guilty as quick as they can and get your money and you may see good reviews for these attorneys. You may see people saying, “Yes, it didn’t cost me that much and I got this or that,” but those are the attorneys who do not challenge these cases.
It’s important to get someone to defend you who is a member of the National College for DUI Defense. In California, get someone who is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association to get someone who has been doing DUI defense for many years, who attends conferences that include things like blood testing and how to beat these blood results, get an attorney who will file suppression motions, who will go to trial.
Those are the types of questions you need to be asking these attorneys when you are trying to figure out who is going to represent you. Anybody can plead you guilty, you can plead yourself guilty but you need someone to analyze your case and give you the best case scenario, worst case scenario and give you a complete analysis, an overview of your case showing you the strengths and weaknesses, helping you make a decision which very well may affect the rest of your life.
How Long Do Blood Draw Cases Typically Take?
Drug cases often take longer just because they can take the DA’s office a little longer to file the cases. The labs, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, are very backed up for DUI, drug cases, and drug analysis, and it often takes many months or close to a year or almost a year for them to file charges because these labs are so backed up. Sometimes it takes them more than a year and they never get the test done.
I had a case recently in Napa, California, where my client had a 0.03 breath test and yet they suspected that he was on drugs as well and it took them a good year to finally dismiss the case. It takes a long time. This can be because of retesting and the expert witnesses that are needed often to attack these tests because of the inaccuracies and the issues that can come up, as well as any discovery issues. They typically take longer than a breath test case; not always, but often they do take longer.
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