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Los Angeles DUI and Blood Fermentation

  • May 25, 2017

    When you are arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence, an officer will require you to complete a chemical test. This test is typically in the form of a breath test or a blood test. The blood test is renowned as being a more accurate assessment.

    For this reason, many police departments will request a blood test for individuals they suspect as driving under the influence. This test can be administered by a trained medical staff at the police station or at a local hospital. You may deny the request for blood testing, however, the officer can still obtain a warrant to get you tested.

    Does A Blood Test Always Stand Up In Court?

    An important part of proving that you were guilty of driving under the influence is the result of the blood test that was taken at the time of the arrest. This is crucial evidence that must be presented in a court of law when criminal charges are formally filed against you. However, you may be wondering if it’s possible to question the integrity of the blood test results?

    An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney will know the prime factors that go into questioning the integrity of the blood sample results. If they can prove an error in the way the test was administered, they may be able to provide reasonable doubt in the mind of the judge and/or jury at trial. But, what are the areas they can question?

    Blood Fermentation

    The blood sample must be stored and cared for in the right way to ensure it is accurate. In some cases where there is a backlog of samples to be tested, blood samples awaiting testing can be sitting out in the open. When this happens this can allow for a proper defense against the DUI allegations.

    When blood is taken out of the body and stored at room temperature it will begin to decompose. This decomposition is a result of the bacteria and enzymes in the blood. When the blood decomposes it ferments. Fermentation is the process in which alcohol is created in the blood. Studies have shown that a blood sample that initially had a 0 BAC can end up having a .25 BAC reading after left out to decompose.

    All blood samples must be refrigerated to help delay fermentation. This will work for a short period of time to slow down the decomposition process. Adding a preservative, such as sodium fluoride, to the blood sample can delay the decomposition process of the blood. If a blood testing laboratory doesn’t use the proper care of refrigeration and an added preservative, you can question the integrity of the results of the BAC test.

    Other Factors That Can Mislead A BAC Reading

    The type of test that a laboratory uses along with the amount of the preservative they use can alter the result of the BAC level. For example, some studies have shown that adding more than 20 milligrams of sodium fluoride, a preservative, when using a chromatography analysis test can produce a BAC reading much higher than is actually present in the blood sample.

    In addition, some laboratories use a strict standard of 20 milligrams of a preservative to mix with the blood sample. This has been shown in some studies to not be enough preservative to stop the entire decomposition process. This means the BAC reading would be higher than is actually present in the blood sample. Also, anticoagulants used to test the sample can alter the BAC level.

    As you can see, there are many parts of the blood testing process that can produce BAC results that are higher than is actually present in the blood they are testing. For this reason, your team of Los Angeles DUI lawyers can typically call into question the integrity of the blood sample in court.

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