Blood testing is one of several chemical tests allowed in Illinois to be used as evidence of a DUI. These tests are usually the most reliable and can be difficult to face in court, but there are several ways to successfully challenge them. That is where an attorney can be invaluable to your case. Call our Naperville DUI lawyers today at (630) 425-0250 to schedule a case evaluation and review how we can challenge DUI blood tests in Illinois.
A police officer may use one of several chemical tests when a driver is suspected of a DUI. The officer gets to decide which type of test to administer: breath, blood, or urine. Of these, breathalyzer tests are the most common due to their convenience and the speed with which they can be used.
The downside of this is that breath testing is not the most reliable when testing for blood alcohol concentration, nor can breathalyzer machines detect drugs (legal or illegal) in the bloodstream. Blood testing for a DUI may be chosen by an officer either for its greater reliability or to test for drugs rather than alcohol. Blood tests are typically conducted at a hospital, though some police departments have clinical facilities within their stations they may use for drawing blood.
Blood tests usually follow several steps to get from the initial blood sample to usable evidence in a case. A nurse or phlebotomist will the blood into vials, which are then marked as evidence and stored before being transported to one of several laboratories in Illinois for testing. the tubes are then marked as evidence, stored, then transported to a crime laboratory in Illinois for testing.
Blood is tested at a lab using a process called gas chromatography and the results are analyzed and a report is sent back to the police department for use in your trial. These procedures add a number of changes in custody for your blood sample and can often be an area an experienced defense attorney can challenge.
The short answer for most cases: Yes, but you shouldn't. This is because the consequences for refusing a chemical test are often harsher than those you may get if you fail and receive a sentence. An offender's driving privileges will face automatic suspension by the Illinois Secretary of State for refusing to submit to chemical testing through a statutory summary suspension. Suspension periods in these cases are:
The officer will generally take possession of the offender's license at the time of the arrest and issue a 45-day driving permit, with the license suspension taking effect on the 46th day.
Additionally, a motorist who refuses a chemical test at the request of law enforcement will not be eligible for a driving permit while the suspension is in effect, may be held liable for the costs of a blood test, and the evidence of refusal shall be used against them in their DUI case.
The officer may also administer a chemical test without the consent of the driver in certain situations. For example, if an officer has probable cause to suspect a vehicle driven by someone under the influence of alcohol or other drugs has been involved in the personal injury or death of another person, that driver must submit to a chemical test.
Blood tests tend to be more reliable than either breath tests or urine tests when performed on people accused of a DUI. They also allow for more informed testing than a breathalyzer, registering not only blood alcohol content but also the presence of a prescription or illegal drug in the bloodstream. This increase in reliability does not, however, mean that the test results are infallible. The entire process is still susceptible to human error in terms of adherence to protocol, proper handling of the sample, or even something as simple as confusing one sample for another.
With these possibilities in mind, a diligent defense attorney may be able to convince the court to exclude a blood test by demonstrating that it does not meet the strict standards required to ensure accuracy. Your defense lawyer can ask the judge handling your case to disallow blood test results if presented with evidence that law enforcement officials or the medical professionals in charge of administering the test failed to strictly adhere to proper procedure.
Related: How to Beat a DUI
There are several ways to successfully challenge the results of a blood test.
If you have been accused of drunk driving, driving under the influence of cannabis, or another form of DUI, your best bet is to immediately seek legal counsel. With experience in handling thousands of DUI, criminal, and traffic matters from both sides of the legal spectrum, Alexander Ktenas has the defense experience to offer you the best defense possible for your situation. Call an experienced DUI attorney at (630) 425-0250 to set up a free consultation and start building your defense.