You thought you were driving just fine, even after a few beers, but then you got into a car crash. You were injured and taken to the hospital. Police asked if they could test your blood for alcohol, and you agreed. The test came back over the legal limit, and now you are charged with DUI.
Can you still defend your case?
The answer in certain circumstances is yes. Depending on how your blood was drawn and what happened to the sample, you may be able to get the results kept out of evidence.
When you consent to a blood test (as opposed to when blood is taken for emergency purposes), the police must ask hospital personnel to draw the sample. Only doctors, registered nurses, certified paramedics or phlebotomists can take the sample. An officer must be present at that time. The sample is then labeled and sealed in a kit. The officer and hospital personnel must initial the seal. These procedures, known as the chain of custody, help guarantee that the sample was not tampered with in some way. Even if the chain of custody is intact, the blood sample must be protected from deterioration.
A defense attorney can fight your test results if the chain of custody has been broken or the attorney can show that the sample is no longer reliable. What if the person taking your blood sample was a physician’s assistant and not the required personnel? What if the seal is unsigned or broken before it got to the lab? What happened when the sample left the hospital? Was it left sitting out in the heat?
Even if the attorney cannot get the blood results thrown out and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced attorney respected at the courthouse may be able to obtain a better plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our related post: Can They Take My Blood? Your Rights and DUI Blood Testing.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)