If you were arrested for DUI in Arizona, your blood may have been drawn to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). The test results could be crucial evidence used by the prosecutor in your criminal case to prove that you were driving while drunk.
However, you should not assume that you will be found guilty if your BAC was 0.08 percent or higher. You may be able to challenge the blood alcohol test results. This could result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense through a plea bargain.
Blood Testing Procedures in Arizona
In Arizona, you implied consent to submit to blood alcohol testing if you are arrested for DUI. If you refuse to submit to the test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year.
The police officer certified to draw blood in DUI cases, or another qualified person such as a phlebotomist, would draw your blood. The qualified person must use a special kit containing a vacuum tube coated with certain chemicals to prevent coagulation and preserve the blood samples. Specific procedures must be employed when drawing your blood and mixing it with chemicals. For example, to mix the blood sample, the officer should first rotate the tube end to end five times and then rotate it 20 times.
The results of your blood test would not be immediate. The blood sample would have to be sent to a lab to be analyzed.
Five Ways to Challenge Blood Alcohol Test Results
Blood alcohol tests are more reliable than breathalyzer tests or field sobriety tests administered when the police stop someone for DUI. However, they are not always accurate, and there are many grounds to challenge the results. If a challenge is successful, the blood alcohol test results could be inadmissible in your criminal case, and the charges against you may be dismissed.
You would need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine the most effective ways to dispute the accuracy of your test results. Here are five grounds they may use:
The police are supposed to draw a second blood sample and provide it to your lawyer so that an independent lab can retest it. If they fail to do this, you may be able to challenge the test result.
Discrepancies in Test Results
Your lawyer could send the second blood sample to an independent lab for testing. If there was a discrepancy in the test results from the police lab and the independent lab used by your attorney, this may be grounds to dispute the accuracy of the test results being used to prosecute you.
Errors in Testing Procedures
Strict procedures must be followed when administering a blood alcohol test. When they are not followed, the test results may not be accurate. Here are common errors that could have affected your test results:
- An alcohol swab that was used as a disinfectant could have contaminated the blood sample drawn.
- The testing kit expired.
- The correct proportion of chemicals was not used or the protocol for mixing chemicals with your blood was not followed.
- Your blood sample was improperly labeled.
- The vial used was tampered with or improperly sealed.
- Only the blood serum or plasma was tested instead of the whole blood.
- Your blood sample was sent to a hospital lab, and the proper procedures were not followed when analyzing it.
Strict guidelines must be followed when transporting, preserving, and storing blood samples. If they were not followed in your case, this may be grounds to argue that there was an improper break in the chain of custody that makes the evidence unreliable.
Lack of Certification
The police officer, phlebotomist, or other individual administering the test had to be trained and certified in DUI testing. If they were not, the lack of certification can be used to dispute the accuracy of the results. In addition, it is more likely that the individual made errors or failed to follow the strict procedures required when drawing your blood.
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney in Flagstaff Today
Were you charged with DUI in Arizona? The dedicated criminal defense lawyers at Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC will mount an aggressive defense strategy for you so that you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call our office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.