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Rules for Obtaining a Blood Sample After a DUI Arrest

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Rules for Obtaining a Blood Sample After a DUI ArrestThe implied consent law in California gives a police officer permission to perform a blood alcohol test on you after you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusing the test will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license and enhanced penalties if you are convicted. A police officer will offer you two ways to take the test: a breath sample or a blood sample. The officer cannot force you to give a blood sample without a warrant.

Opting for the Blood Test

A DUI attorney will advise you not to submit to any chemical tests, but many people fear the consequences of not complying. When given options, most people choose the breath test over the blood test because it is less invasive. There are situations in which the police will insist on a blood sample:

  • The officer will want a blood sample if he or she suspects you of being under the influence of drugs;
  • The officer may not have the equipment available to take a breath sample; or
  • Your respiratory problems may prevent you from providing an adequate breath sample.

Even with the implied consent law, California requires a police officer to obtain a warrant if he or she wants to force you to submit to a blood test. However, there are exceptions to the law, such as if you are unconscious and receiving medical attention. An officer may claim that he or she could not receive a warrant in a timely manner and needed an immediate blood sample to be able to measure your blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident.

Testing Procedures

Blood tests are considered more accurate for reading BAC levels than breath tests, but there is still potential for error during the process. California has strict procedures for conducting a blood test:

  • The blood sample must be drawn as soon as possible after the arrest;
  • The extraction site on the skin should not be cleaned with an alcohol-based substance;
  • The blood sample must be preserved to prevent contamination or clotting; and
  • The sample must have a traceable chain of custody from when it was drawn to when it arrived at the lab for testing.

Contact a Bay Area DUI Attorney

You can cite several reasons why your blood sample should be inadmissible in your DUI case. The officer may not have obtained a warrant before taking your blood sample, or the sample may have been contaminated, causing it to show an inaccurately high BAC level. A San Francisco criminal defense attorney at Burglin Law Office, P.C., will prevent unlawful or inaccurate evidence from being entered in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-729-7300.



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