DUI Breath and Blood Tests
A critical part of securing a DUI conviction will be proving that a driver was operating a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or above. While field sobriety tests or observations and opinions as to the level of intoxication can be the foundation for an arrest and for charges being brought against the defendant, there is no question that the most significant of these is the driver's blood alcohol level.
The most common test is the breath test. While blood tests can also be taken and are permissible as evidence, these are less common due to the difficulties in administration; they require medical facilities, and there is normally a delay in obtaining results.
The first test given is generally a portable breath test which is administered at the scene of the stop. These results are rarely offered as evidence in court, but are used mainly to establish probable cause for the officer to make an arrest. The more solid the results that will be used as evidence is derived from breathalyzer machines. These are generally kept at police stations.
While one can, in theory, refuse to take these tests this does not mean one can or will not suffer the penalties. Washington law recognizes the concept of “implied consent”, which is established based upon the fact that when a driver receives his license that he also agrees to submit to chemical testing after a lawful DUI arrest. Refusal to take the test is a refusal to comply with your previous implied consent agreement to take the BAC test when driving. This will therefore most likely lead to the immediate revocation of your license and other possible penalties.
An officer may also seek a search warrant for blood when a driver refuses to submit to breath/blood tests.
Weakness in Blood and Breath Tests
As any experienced DUI attorney can tell you , there are many flaws and potential problems with breath and blood tests. These tests are not infallible. They may be administered incorrectly or may be administered with a unit that is not properly calibrated. There may be other problems that must be investigated for your defense. Ms. St. Clair understands the weaknesses in these tests and in the procedures. If you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI and had a BAC of .08 or above, do not give up hope.
Even if you were told that you failed a breath or blood test, it is imperative that you contact a DUI attorney who will know exactly what to look for in handling your case.
Call today. Your consultation is free.