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DUI and Qualitative vs. Quantitative Testing

  • May 25, 2017

    Driving under the influence in the city of Los Angeles constitutes both under the influence of alcohol and under the influence of drugs. When it comes to alcohol the officer’s work is pretty straight forward. They will do a breathalyzer test on the suspected driver to get their blood alcohol content or BAC, for short.

    The BAC of the suspected driver must be .08 or more for them to be considered legally intoxicated. It is possible to charge an individual for driving under the influence of alcohol at a lower BAC level if the officer can show evidence of reckless driving and other visible signs of intoxication. However, most district attorneys will not pursue a case against an individual unless their BAC is .08 or higher.

    Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs

    Identifying if an individual is driving under the influence of drugs can be a harder case to prove for an arresting officer. There is no legal threshold in place about the amount of any specific drug. An officer is solely relying on the drug tests, known medical effects of the drug, and the reckless actions of the suspected driver to prove their case.

    Since there is no legal threshold when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs, according to the California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e) VC a suspected driver can be brought up on charges for having any amount of a drug in their system. These drugs include cocaine, opiates, marijuana, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, to name just a few.

    The Typical Qualitative Testing Performed During An Arrest

    If an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of drugs, they can perform a mouth swab test at the scene of the incident. This is just a preliminary test to help an officer verify their suspicion. There is no breath test that can identify drugs in a person’s system.

    If the results come up positive for the mouth swab test, the officer will arrest the driver. The driver will be required to have a blood sample test performed. This qualitative test will reveal if any drug is present in the driver’s blood. Law enforcement agencies won’t typically have a quantitative test performed to identify how much of the drug is in the driver’s system.

    The qualitative drug test will not provide results for a few weeks after the test was performed. This means that the suspected driver will not know the results of their blood test until after their arraignment. The suspected driver may refuse the qualitative blood test at the time of their arrest. An officer may still get a court warrant for the blood. In the event the blood test reveals drugs, the defendant can be given mandatory jail time for refusing the test.

    Quantitative Testing And Blood Split Orders

    As you learned above, the police department will not typically have a quantitative blood test performed. This type of test measures the amount of the drug that is present in the driver’s system. An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney knows that the amount of drug in a driver’s system is imperative to their court case.

    Drugs don’t always inhibit the ability of a person to drive in small amounts. In the event that the driver had only a small amount of the drug in their system, the attorney can have a toxicology expert testify to the fact that the driver couldn’t have been impaired due to the low levels of the drug in their system.

    For a suspected driver to use this quantitative testing at their court hearing, they will need to have the testing done. When the police department’s testing center took a blood sample of the driver, they kept some of it stored for evidence. Your attorney can request a split of the blood sample to have tested by an independent agency. This independent agency can do both the qualitative and quantitative testing to identify what drugs are present and at what levels.

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