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12 May

ARE BLOOD AND BREATH TESTS FOR DUI ACCURATE?

Posted by David Jones on May 12, 2017

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Suppose you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer because of a traffic violation, such as weaving or speeding, and the officer suspects you may be under the influence of alcohol. Perhaps the officer can smell the odor of alcohol on your breath, or perhaps you were slurring your words. Regardless, usually an officer will ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FST's).

If you fail the FST's, the next step in the process is to ask you submit to a chemical test, either a blood test or a breath test.

Under California's Implied Consent Law, you agree to take chemical tests if an officer arrests you for DUI. If you refuse to take a test, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for one year, even if you had nothing to drink and even if you were found not guilty of DUI in court.

In DUI cases, blood and breath tests are used most frequently; however, urine tests are used occasionally.  The general perception of law enforcement, judges, and the public is that blood tests are the most accurate, followed by breath tests. However, this is not so, both tests have approximately the same margin of error of 10% or higher. There are many issues to look at with regard to either test that can affect their accuracy and therefore a DUI case.

What are some things that can go wrong?
• Laboratory errors
• Improper preservation of blood samples
• Breath testing device improperly calibrated
• Faulty breath gas analysis reading (breath test)

While chemical tests can be useful tools, they are not perfect. If you were arrested for DUI, I urge you to contact our firm to speak to an experienced DUI attorney. We may be able identify issues with the particular test used in your case to get your charges dismissed or reduced, thereby minimizing the effects of the DUI.

David Jones

David E. Jones is a Central Valley area DUI and criminal defense attorney who represents those accused of DUI and other crimes in both state and federal court. Mr. Jones has practiced criminal law throughout Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties since 1996. Mr. Jones was a Deputy District Attorney for Fresno County 12 years and has been an instructor for the Police Academy for over 10 years. He is an experienced and respected trial attorney.

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