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Los Angeles DUI – Whole Blood Vs. Serum Analysis

  • May 25, 2017

    A gross misconduct committed by most drivers is driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Fortunately, with the advanced technology, it is possible to determine the level of alcohol content in the driver’s blood through a blood test or by just a breath test. The test indicates whether they are fit to be behind the wheel or otherwise. In most cases, a driver is offered a chance to take either of the two chemical tests.

    A driver who chooses the blood test has a sample of blood drawn from his system and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results, in this case, take a bit of time to process and release unlike in the case of the breath test. However, even if this test is considered more accurate of all other chemical tests, it has its issues regarding how the blood sample was tested, which could affect the relevance on whether the driver was above the recommended threshold of 0.08%.

    For this reason, blood samples in DUI case are analyzed as a whole blood sample. It means that the entire blood sample from the driver is analyzed without being separated, which differs from other blood analysis tests that involve testing the blood serum. For knowledge’s sake, blood serum is the yellowish fluid obtained after blood is separated into liquid and solid components.

    • Serum Samples Analysis

    It is of great importance to know what type of analysis was conducted on the blood sample in a DUI case. Extensive research has revealed that analysis of serum results in higher BAC levels. Moreover, the blood alcohol level in a serum analysis is estimated to be higher by an 11% margin. It is over 5% higher than the whole blood. It can be explained by the fact that serum contains more water and alcohol has an affinity to water, and it is chemically attracted to it. Hence, serum samples will give higher BAC results.

    • Whole Blood Samples Analysis

    Whole blood sample tests have way lower BAC levels. Its blood level content is estimated to fall at 11% less than the serum samples. The whole blood has less water, which is the reason why its analytical readings are lower than those of serum hence producing lower BAC results.

    The margins between these two chemical tests are vital for defendants whose BAC is at or close to 0.08 %. For instance, a defendant subject to a serum sample may have results of 0.09 % but read 0.07 % on a whole blood analysis. In such a case, the defendant is not criminally liable for driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 % or higher, which amounts to violation of the California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC that governs Los Angeles.

    Despite the fact that it is the whole blood analysis of a defendant that is admissible in a DUI case, there exist situations where serum analysis may come in handy. It may occur if the defendant happened to be brought to a hospital or any other medical facility for treatment as a result of a traffic collision and his or her blood sample collected and analyzed by the medics.

    Scientists have confirmed that serum analysis provides more accurate results than whole blood samples. It is the most preferred method when it gets down to medical cases since whole blood sample analysis is subject to fluctuations because alcohol is not uniformly distributed in the sample. However, the general practice prefers using the whole blood sample in non-medical circumstances.

    If you have been arrested for a DUI offense and you have provided a blood sample, it is highly recommended to make contact with a Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers work in close collaboration with top independent laboratory specialists to ensure that their clients have access to the most inclusive defense as possible.

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