Pasadena Blood Tests
As part of the Pasadena DUI Process, a driver arrested for DUI will be asked to submit to chemical testing and may choose either the breath test or the blood test. While the blood test is generally considered to be the more reliable form of testing, the results of blood testing are not immune from challenge. Unlike the Pasadena breath test, the blood test can be used to show whether or not a DUI suspect is under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol.
The taking, processing and handling of blood samples in Pasadena DUI cases must strictly adhere to the standards set forth in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations. This includes the following regulations:
- The blood draw must be conducted in a hospital environment by a trained technician following generally accepted medical practices.
- Before blood is drawn from the suspect, the site of the blood draw must be sterilized with a substance that does not contain alcohol. An alcohol-based sterilizing agent could potentially affect the results of the blood test.
- The blood must be properly stored in a vial containing suitable levels of anticoagulants and preservatives to ensure the sample does not become contaminated or does not clot.
- The sample must be properly stored under conditions and temperatures that would not affect the integrity and viability of the sample.
- When testing the blood sample, qualified technicians can only use instruments that have been approved to measure blood alcohol content in California and are properly calibrated.
- There must be a chain of custody describing everyone who handled the blood sample. This chain of custody must be recorded.
Unlike breath tests, Pasadena blood samples can be stored and thus may be retested by defense counsel upon request at an independent testing facility. The arresting officer is required to inform all DUI suspects taking the blood test that they have a right to have their blood sample retained for further testing. This may be an officer from the Pasadena Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, or any other law enforcement agency operating within the Pasadena area.
If the person requesting the blood test asserts this right, a Pasadena DUI attorney can later obtain a portion of this sample via a "blood split order" and have an independent laboratory retest the blood sample. The independent retest may show that the blood-alcohol level was below 0.08 percent or otherwise was subject to various mistakes which caused an inaccurate blood alcohol reading.
Common errors that can lead to BAC readings in excess of 0.08 percent in Pasadena include contamination in the blood sample, switched blooded samples, and conditions that lead to fermentation in the blood which would cause the blood to produce its own alcohol. Improper handling of a blood sample can lead to hemolysis, which involves the breaking down of red blood cell membranes when the sample is not stored under suitable conditions. Hemolysis can cause the blood sample to ferment and create its own alcohol, which would compromise the results of any subsequent blood alcohol testing.
When testing for drugs in a blood sample, various issues may arise. Certain drugs, like marijuana, have a tendency to remain in the body and blood long after their intoxicating effects have worn off. As a result, someone who used drugs days ago may test positive on a DUI blood test. In these cases, a qualified Pasadena DUI Lawyer can enlist experts to show how the results may be compromised or may show quantities so low that there would be no intoxicating effects.
Unlike the breath test, the Pasadena blood test can be obtained from a suspect against his or her will. This used to be common practice and many individuals were subjected to forced blood draws in cases where they refused testing. However, the United States Supreme Court recently prohibited forced blood draws conducted without a warrant in the Missouri v. McNeely decision. However, people who refuse testing can still be charged with Pasadena DUI refusal.
If you have been arrested for a Pasadena DUI offense and have taken either the breath or blood test, it is critical that you consult with a knowledgeable Pasadena DUI lawyer immediately. Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, including serving as a Senior Trial Prosecutor at the Pasadena Courthouse. Mr. Kraut has been highly successful in challenging all aspects of Pasadena blood testing and DUI cases.
For more information about Pasadena blood testing, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena DUI Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 626-345-1899.