If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you probably had to undergo some form of testing. This could’ve been done through a breathalyzer, a urine test, or a blood test. Blood testing is the most accurate method and is often the option of choice in many jurisdictions.
It is your responsibility to understand what can and can’t be done in this situation, and what the implications of a positive test are. You also have to know some of the myths about these tests, so you don’t end up making a mistake, and understand your rights.
Here are some of the most common myths about DUI blood testing
Police Lab Tests Results are the Only Valid Ones
That is not the case. When you are processed for DUI blood testing, you will be sent to a chosen medical lab where a technician will take a sample for testing. While the results will be used as evidence if the case goes to trial, know that you can request for an independent test in many jurisdictions.
In places like Georgia, for instance, you can ask the officers to take you to an independent testing facility. They are also obligated to let you search on the internet for a facility and take you to an ATM if you need money to pay. So, if you feel like they’re in the wrong, exercise your right. This could be used to debate in court and could have an influence on sentencing.
Over the Counter Breathalyzers are a Good Indicator of Blood Alcohol
While using breathalyzers tools available to the public can be one way to reduce drink driving, don’t expect these to be consistent with lab results. That’s because of the way they work. Breathalyzers don’t calculate the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Instead, they only calculate the concentration of alcohol compounds in the breath.
However, this doesn’t account for things such as sex, weight, or even things like red blood cell concentration. So, only use this as an estimate of what your real blood alcohol level is, and don’t drive if it’s too close to the limit for comfort.
You Can’t Refuse a Test
A lot of people are still under the impression that refusing a test will automatically make them guilty, but it’s more complex than that. In most states, officers will need to show probable cause before they can submit you to a test. But once probable cause is established, refusal will usually result in a guilty charge under implied consent.
Some of the things officers can use to establish probable cause include observations of erratic driving behavior, field sobriety tests, alcohol smells, and breathalyzer tests. If they establish after these that you may be impaired, refusing a test will get you in trouble. But if you feel like you were unjustly arrested, you are within your rights to refuse blood testing.
Getting arrested for a DUI is something no one should be taking lightly. If you are in this situation, make sure that you understand both your responsibilities and your rights, and protect them at all costs if you feel they’ve been violated.