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Los Angeles DUI Attorneys and Toxicology

  • May 25, 2017

    Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol while they were operating a motor vehicle. Prosecutors rely heavily upon the observations of the arresting officer in addition to toxicology reports which detail the chemical testing a driver underwent at the time if their arrest. Drivers in the state of California are given the option to submit to taking either a blood or breath test when arrested on suspicion of DUI. If you refuse to submit to testing, you may still be charged with driving under the influence in addition to a charge for refusal which will result in additional penalties, fees, and mandatory jail time.

    The scientific study of foreign chemical on the body is called toxicology. Scientists that specialize in this area of study are call toxicologists. Toxicologists can be extremely helpful in challenging both the blood and breath tests by acting as an expert witness for the defense. Many factors can attribute to a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of testing which means that procuring the services of a qualified toxicologist can be extremely beneficial when challenging the test results.

    The results of the driver’s BAC test only demonstrate what the level of alcohol was at the actual time of the test. They cannot determine what the BAC was at the exact time the person was driving. A toxicologist specializes in studying the relationship between the absorption of drugs or alcohol into the body and the process by which they are metabolized. After drinking alcohol, the person’s BAC will rise slowly as the alcohol is absorbed by the body. The BAC will level off and then will begin to decline as their body processes and excretes the alcohol. There have been cases where a qualified toxicologist has demonstrated that due to this process a person’s BAC at the time of testing is not always indicative of their BAC while driving. The testing may show a BAC level at 0.8 percent level at the time of testing which may be due to the alcohol level in the blood rising, meaning that the driver was actually below the 0.8 percent threshold at the actual time they were driving. In cases like this, the help of a qualified toxicologist can be a critical component to the defense teams success.

    Toxicology experts are highly trained and experienced in understanding the blood testing process. Many have been previously employed by law enforcements labs. They can testify to how reliable the blood testing process truly is and any issues with errors that can threaten the integrity and veracity of the testing.

    Law enforcement in the state of California is required to set aside a sample of the blood sample taken from the defendant to allow for testing by an independent lab. The defense team is allowed to request a blood split order and then have a retest completed. In cases where the independent blood testing is favorable to the case, it is extremely helpful to employ a toxicologist to testify regarding the retesting results.

    Toxicologists can also be helpful when asked to testify during a DMV administration hearing. They can testify to the integrity of calibration and maintenance record of the blood testing equipment. The toxicologist will be able to explain the issues regarding BAC at the time of testing and how it can differentiate from the true BAC while the defendant was driving. Many times, the toxicologist’s testimony can help aid in the driver’s suspension being set aside.

    If you have been arrested and charged with DUI it is imperative that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney as quickly as possible. Los Angeles DUI Lawyers along with an expert toxicologist can help ensure that every defense option available is utilized to help fight your DUI charge. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case.

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