DC DUI Blood Test Accuracy  

If an individual is suspected of driving while impaired, law enforcement often has them perform field sobriety tests. If the person fails those tests or if they have been involved in a car crash and it is suspected that they were driving while impaired, the police may request a chemical drug/alcohol test. The three tests are blood tests, urine tests, and the breathalyzer test. Blood tests are believed to be the most accurate of the three types of blood tests. If you want to know more about DC DUI blood test accuracy, speak with a seasoned DUI lawyer who can answer your questions.

When Can an Officer Request That Blood Can Be Drawn?

In the District of Columbia, the way the law currently stands, if a suspect is involved in an accident and the police officer has probable cause to believe that the individual is impaired by drugs or alcohol, then the police officer can request that a blood sample is drawn.

A blood draw will need to happen at a hospital rather than a police station. In the District of Columbia, unlike certain other jurisdictions, the police officers are not phlebotomists and are not trained to draw blood. Once they are at the hospital, then the police will request that a sample of the blood be preserved and delivered to them so that they can have the DC lab conduct a blood test to determine if there are any drugs or alcohol in the individual’s system.

Accuracy of Different Chemical Tests

Of the three chemical tests that law enforcement use to determine the blood alcohol content of a defendant, DC DUI blood test accuracy is the highest. The point of the chemical test in a DUI case is to find out what the blood alcohol content is.

Accuracy of Breathalyzers

In a breath test, the breathalyzer is testing the air coming from a defendant’s lungs and using scientific processes and ratios to be able to make a determination of what the blood alcohol content would be based on the amount of alcohol found in the breath, but that is not directly testing the blood; it is using scientifically-tested ratios and methods to determine what the blood alcohol content is. The accuracy of the breathalyzer is not as high as DC DUI blood test accuracy.

Urine Test Accuracy

With urine tests, one serious issue is that urine tests should be performed on what is called a second void. If an individual is subjected to a urine test because the police suspected they are under the influence of alcohol, they will have them provide a urine sample and then they will test that urine sample in a lab.

If that urine sample is urine that has been in their bladder for some length of time, say, since the time that they were, in fact, drinking, then they can expect there will be some amount of alcohol actually in the urine so that if they have not voided their bladder first and kind of reset, then they might be getting an artificially high BAC from the urine test because there is actually alcohol in the urine.

The correct scientific manner of performing urine tests is to have the subject empty their bladder then wait some length of time, at least 20 to 30 minutes, for the bladder to get full again and then test that. That is what is called a second void test. Unfortunately, the police officers in the District of Columbia do not seem to ever follow that protocol and so getting inaccurate test results using urine, unfortunately, is not a rare circumstance. Considering these issues with breath tests and urine tests, blood tests are clearly the most accurate because they, in fact, are testing the amount of alcohol in the blood.

Importance of Blood Tests

Blood tests are accurate in determining that there are drugs in a person’s bloodstream, not necessarily the concentrations but, for sure, blood tests can determine the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Because they cannot determine exactly how impaired a person is based upon the presence of the drugs in their system, there is no set amount for a specific drug as far as their content in the bloodstream as there is with alcohol.

Because of numerous years of testing, the government has determined or has decided that a 0.08 BAC based on a blood test or a breath test equates to what they say a per se impairment, that if someone’s blood alcohol content is at 0.08 or above, then the law deems that person to be impaired and the government need not necessarily prove impairment by other means through demonstration of how they did on the field sobriety test, for example, meaning under the law, a person can do a field sobriety test fantastically and be one of those extremely rare examples of someone who goes through the test without showing signs or symptoms of impairment but if they have admitted to drinking alcohol, the officers are going to arrest them and take them back to the station to test them and see if, in fact, they are under the influence. DC DUI blood test accuracy can be an important and final step in gathering evidence that shows impairment.