Blood Alcohol Testing

San Mateo DUI Defense Lawyers

In the State of California, anyone who operates a vehicle on California roadways automatically consents to submit to a chemical test and/or field sobriety test if a law enforcement officer suspects that they have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is known as California's "implied consent" law. Blood alcohol testing allows law enforcement officials to determine the concentration of alcohol in a person's bloodstream. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, then you can be arrested and charged with DUI.

It is important to remember that California law requires blood testing to be conducted in compliance with California Code of Regulations, specifically Title 17. There are two applicable tests that law enforcement officials can use to determine the blood alcohol concentration of an impaired driver.

  1. Breath Alcohol Testing
  2. Blood Alcohol Testing
  3. Urine Alcohol Testing - (only for DUI drug testing)

Breath Alcohol Testing in California

The amount of alcohol present in a driver's blood can be tested by breathing into a machine known as a breathalyzer. If a driver blows a BAC of 0.08%, then that means that there is 0.08 grams of alcohol present per 210 liters of breath. Law enforcement officials prefer to use breathalyzers for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they are portable and easy to use.

Unfortunately, breathalyzers are far from perfect and require precise maintenance and calibration in order to yield accurate results. Officers must also be trained to operate, maintain, and calibrate these machines or they may yield false readings. A skilled an experienced San Mateo DUI lawyer can investigate the accuracy of the breath test device and the officer's training to determine if operator error or improper calibration led to your DUI arrest. For more information on breath testing errors, please check out our breath testing errors page.

Blood Alcohol Testing in California

Blood alcohol testing comes with its own host of problems. Generally, a driver's blood is not drawn and tested until well after the DUI arrest. This can lead to problems in determining the driver's true BAC at the time of arrest. Often the prosecution's expert witness will claim that they can guess the driver's BAC by going using a series of calculations called retrograde extrapolation. However, the prosecution's expert must use assumptions about the individual, particularly, whether the driver had fully absorbed the alcohol at the time of testing in order to make this calculation work. The experienced Redwood City DUI defense attorneys at Ahmed & Sukaram, can expose the government's assumptions in front of the jury and potentially debunk their calculations about the driver's BAC.

Moreover, during a blood alcohol test, blood is supposed to be drawn from a vein in the person's arm and analyzed for its ethyl alcohol content. California law states that this test must be performed by a licensed and trained medical professional. However, sometimes the prosecution may have difficulty in establishing the credentials or credibility of the phlebotomist. Additionally, the phlebotomist may not used proper procedures in collecting and storing the blood sample, i.e., the blood sample was shaken instead of gently mixed. This can lead to hemolysis and a BAC that is overestimated by upwards of 20%. The phlebotomist may have drawn arterial blood which can yield an inaccurate and inflated BAC. The blood may not have been immediately refrigerated. Alternatively, the blood vial may not have the proper amount preservative. Or, the blood could have become contaminated due to an improper sterilization procedure of the driver's arm. These are just a few issue with blood alcohol analysis.

Additionally, in order for blood test to used against you in a court of law, the police need to have a warrant to draw your blood. The case is Missouri v. McNeely. ( Missouri v. McNeely, (2013) 133 S.Ct. 1552.) Absent a warrant, the police have to show some valid for not getting a warrant, i.e., there wasn't enough time to secure a warrant. This requirement should be hard for the police to establish in a DUI arrest without an accident.

San Mateo DUI Defense Lawyers

At Ahmed & Sukaram, our San Mateo DUI defense lawyers have extensive experience defending DUI cases in the State of California. If you are charged with DUI in the State of California, contact the dynamic legal team of Ahmed & Sukaram immediately. We are ready to fight to protect your rights, safeguard you job, and secure your freedom-no matter how serious the DUI charges are against you. You are not alone-call Ahmed & Sukaram today at 1-866-477-0965 or email us through this site in order to set up a no obligation consultation. If you prefer to video chat, please connect with us using Skype at Nafiz.Ahmed59.