Los Angeles DUI Blood Split Orders
When a driver who is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence chooses to take a blood test, the sample is sent to the crime lab for toxicological analysis. However, the law requires that a portion of the blood be set aside and preserved. At a later date, the defense can request to have this portion, which is referred to as a “blood split,” retested at an independent laboratory. In many cases, performing independent analysis of the blood split can show that the crime lab’s results may be faulty, unreliable or incomplete.
When a person is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the police will give the suspect the choice of taking either a breath or blood test. If the driver is suspected driving under the influence of drugs, only the blood test is available as there is currently no breath test that can measure for the presence or amount of drugs in a person’s system. If the driver refuses testing, he or she can still be charged with DUI along with a refusal allegation that carries enhanced penalties, including a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least one year. Even in cases where drivers refuse testing or are unconscious and cannot give consent, law enforcement will often perform a forced blood draw to obtain a sample for testing. The law allows this in certain situations, because there is no way to obtain a forced breath sample.
The blood sample is sent to the crime lab where it will go undergo testing and analysis. There may be errors in how the law enforcement agency or lab labels, stores or tests the driver’s blood sample that can lead to faulty results. Law enforcement agencies and labs will receive numerous blood samples on any given night and samples have been known to have been mixed up on prior occasions. There have also been incidents in which samples have been contaminated with other blood samples or with other material in the lab which results in incorrect blood alcohol concentration results. In addition, if blood samples are stored at improper temperatures or without the proper amounts of preservatives, the sample will begin to ferment and create its own alcohol which would throw off the results of any subsequent testing.
In addition, when labs test blood samples for drugs they may only do a qualitative analysis to determine whether or not a particular drug is present. The lab may not conduct a qualitative analysis to measure the amount of drugs a defendant may have had in his or her system. In some cases, a drug may be present but only in an amount so small that it would not cause impairment.
Because of these issues and others, the law allows the defendant to have independent testing conducted on the blood split. The defendant would be responsible for assuming the cost of independent testing and there are numerous laboratories throughout the Los Angeles area that specialize in this type of analysis.
The defendant’s attorney will usually request that the prosecution release the sample directly to the independent laboratory. It may be necessary to obtain a blood split order from the Court requiring that the sample be turned over. If the law enforcement agency fails to provide the blood split, the Court may impose sanctions.
An independent analysis can reveal a number of things about the original sample. A retest may show that the driver’s BAC was below 0.08 percent. In addition, independent analysis may show that there was not enough preservative or anticoagulant in the sample which would challenge the integrity of the original sample. In depth toxicology analysis in a DUI drugs case may show that the driver did not have enough of a drug in his or her system to actually cause impairment.
If you have been arrested for DUI and took a blood test, it is very important that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Attorney Michael Kraut works with the best independent laboratories in the area in order to present the most comprehensive defense possible for his clients.
For more information about DUI blood split orders, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.