Burbank Blood Tests
A critical element of the Burbank DUI Process requires that the DUI suspect submits to a breath or blood test in order to determine his or her blood alcohol content. While it is more invasive, the blood test, which can also be used to test for the presence of drugs and drug intoxication, is considered to be the more accurate of the two tests. However, the blood test is not infallible and there may be circumstances in which results may be contaminated, compromised or inaccurate.
Law enforcement officers in Burbank must adhere to the strict guidelines set forth in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations that govern exactly how a blood sample must be drawn, stored and analyzed in DUI cases. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following rules:
- The blood draw must be conducted by a trained technician. This must occur in a hospital setting and must follow generally accepted medical practices for drawing blood.
- While cleaning the blood draw site, the technician can only use a disinfectant that is not alcohol-based. Use of an alcohol-based sterilizing agent would potentially contaminate the blood sample and produce a false positive for alcohol.
- The blood sample must be stored with anticoagulants and preservatives to prevent the sample from being contaminated or the blood from clotting.
- The blood sample must be stored in an environment and temperature that would not lead to fermentation or otherwise affect the integrity of the evidence.
- The technician analyzing the blood must only use instruments that have been approved for blood testing in California, that are in working order and are properly calibrated.
- A chain of custody record must be compiled and maintained for all blood samples. This record must be made available upon demand.
Unlike the breath test, the blood sample does have the advantage that a portion of the sample can be kept and later retested upon request. Before the blood draw is conducted, law enforcement officers in Burbank are required to notify the arrested party that the blood sample can be retained for future analysis upon request.
If the DUI suspect requests that the blood sample be kept, a Burbank DUI lawyer is able to have this sample released via what is known as a "blood split order." The client can then have the blood analyzed at a laboratory of his or her own choosing. In some cases, the results of testing from the independent laboratory will vary significantly from those produced by the county laboratory. The results of independent testing may reveal that the original sample was compromised or was subject to contamination that would render the evidence unusable.
There are a variety of errors associated with blood testing in Burbank that can compromise blood test results and lead to inaccurate measurements. Common errors include blood samples that have been switched or comingled with other samples and thus have become completely compromised and samples that are stored in conditions and at temperatures that induce fermentation of the blood, which would effectively result in the stored blood producing its own alcohol. When samples are not stored or handled appropriately, a process called hemolysis can take place. During hemolysis, the membranes of red blood cell walls break down and ferment, leading to inaccurate blood alcohol levels.
There are also issues when blood samples are tested for the presence of drugs and narcotics. Substances like marijuana may stay in a person's system days after the drug has been consumed and the intoxicating effect has worn off. An effective Burbank DUI Attorney can have blood retested to make sure the cut-off levels were accurate and bring in expert testimony to show whether or not an intoxicant would have had an impairing effect at low levels.
Another important distinction between breath and blood testing is that it is physically possible for law enforcement in Burbank to obtain a blood sample even when a suspect does not consent to the blood draw. Forced blood draws used to be widely used on those who refused to submit to either breath or blood testing (or who were unable to provide consent due to an injury or lack of consciousness). The United States Supreme Court changed this practice in the recent Missouri v. McNeely decision, which now requires a warrant for a forced blood draw on a DUI suspect. Even if officers cannot obtain blood samples by force, those who refuse testing can still be charged with a DUI offense.
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense in Burbank and chose to take a blood test, it is crucial that you meet with a knowledgeable Burbank DUI lawyer immediately. Burbank DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who is highly skilled at challenging the results of chemical testing in DUI cases. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded in Burbank as tough litigator who possesses an extensive knowledge of the intricate and detailed DUI laws.
For more information about Burbank blood testing, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Burbank DUI Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 2600 West Olive Avenue, 5th Floor, Burbank, CA 91505. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 818-563-9810.