Challenging a Maryland DUI Blood Test

Individuals who wish to fight the results of a DUI blood test are advised to consult a well-practiced Maryland lawyer. Before a person could go about challenging a Maryland DUI blood test, they typically need to understand how these tests are conducted and analyzed. Authorities are required to follow a strict protocol when conducting blood tests, and it is recommended for DUI defendants to speak with an experienced criminal attorney to learn what rights they have.

When May Officers Request for Blood to be Drawn?

An officer could request for blood to be drawn in similar circumstances as a breath test. It is considered a reliable chemical test. Since it is more intrusive and much less efficient than a breath test, a breath test is the preferred method for testing a person’s blood alcohol content both by the arrestee and law enforcement. Some more common circumstances where blood may be drawn are when the person is incapable of providing a breath sample because there was an accident and their injuries or medical needs may preclude them from doing so. The person may also be unconscious and unable to provide a breath sample. The law requires consent before the authorities may administer a blood test.  If no consent is given, law enforcement must obtain a warrant before attempting to collect a blood sample.

Justifiable Reasons for Refusing a Blood Test

Some justifiable reasons a person may challenge and refuse a DUI blood test in Maryland include for personal or religious beliefs, ethical reasons, and privacy reasons. Similar to refusing a breathalyzer, it could impact their driving privileges in Maryland and the criminal case.

How and Where a Blood Test Would Occur

A blood test usually occurs at a hospital or other medical treatment center. It could be conducted at a medical facility by a licensed practitioner, at a jail, or by an EMT in an ambulance. Those are pretty extreme circumstances, however, and the nature of the circumstances could call into question the reliability of the results. Almost always, the sample is taken at a hospital or other medical center where the arrestee is receiving treatment.

The Accuracy of Blood Tests in Determining BAC and Drug Impairment

As long as the test itself is conducted properly, and as long as the sample is maintained correctly, blood test results can be very accurate in determining the specific level of alcohol content. While blood tests are also accurate in testing for the presence of drugs, they cannot effectively determine drug impairment.  A blood test reveals the presence of certain drugs in a person’s system and may be able to reveal the amount of certain substances.

However, impairment depends on a person’s individual tolerance, size, weight, height, metabolism, and other personal physiological and biological characteristics that are not going to be reflected in the blood samples. Consequently, a blood test is generally ineffective in determining drug impairment. It tests for the presence of drugs and volume concentration in the blood and not for drug impairment.

Steps a DUI Lawyer Could Take to Challenge the Results of a Blood Test

A Maryland attorney could look at how the blood sample was drawn to see if it was sanitary and uncontaminated. For example, the technician or nurse who draws the sample often wipes down the person’s skin with rubbing alcohol to sanitize the area where the needle is going to be placed to draw the blood. Rubbing alcohol has a high concentration of alcohol, which could contaminate the sample when the blood is drawn.

Once the sample is taken, how it is stored is another factor. If it is stored at room temperature, that could contaminate it. The defense lawyer may be able to examine the chain of custody to see to look for problems at every step between leaving the defendant’s body and being introduced as evidence in court. The specific medical techniques must be examined to ensure that the prosecution’s results accurately reflect the scientific test results. Let a hard-working attorney help you with challenging a Maryland DUI blood test. Call today to discuss your case.