If you are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, law enforcement will request a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Per Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-1321, there are penalties if you refuse a chemical test. This is because when you get your license, you give implied consent for these sorts of tests if you are arrested. This includes DUI blood testing.
There are three possible chemical tests law enforcement officers may use if you are arrested under suspicion of DUI: breath, blood, and urine testing. Breath testing is common for roadside stops because it is easier and quicker to do, but it is often less accurate. Blood testing is more accurate, but certain procedures must be followed to get reliable results. Urine testing is less common but may be necessary if getting a breath or blood test isn't possible.
Keep in mind that Arizona's implied consent law applies to all three types of DUI testing. Whether the officer requests a breath, blood, or urine test (or a combination of tests), you will face license suspension if you refuse.
You may be tempted to refuse a BAC and accept the consequences of a license suspension, but you should be aware that it is highly likely the officer will be able to test your BAC anyway. If the office obtains a warrant, they can obtain a blood sample regardless of your consent. Getting a warrant is often a quick process due to modern technology as long as the officer can establish probable cause.
If law enforcement draws blood for BAC testing, they will need to draw two vials. The second vial can be used for independent testing. The results of this second test can be used against you, but they may also be able to help your case depending on the circumstances. It's important to speak with an attorney to determine if independent blood testing could be beneficial for your DUI case.
In order to defend against DUI charges, your attorney will consider if there were any issues that could have impacted the accuracy of any BAC tests you received. While blood tests are generally more accurate than breath tests, there are still some factors that can affect their reliability.These include:
The prosecution must establish a "chain of custody" that shows where the blood sample was at all times from when it was collected to when the test results were recorded. If there are any errors or omissions in the data, the sample may be excluded from evidence.
The person who collects the blood sample must be properly trained, and any errors they make can affect the results. For example, if they wiped the site down with an alcohol wipe, this could lead to an artificially high BAC.
When blood is collected, it is drawn into a vacuum-sealed tube, which is known as a vacutainer. These include additives that prevent clotting or contamination of the sample. Improper vacutainer handling or using an expired seal can make the test unreliable.
In order for lab results to be accurate, staff must properly calibrate and maintain all testing equipment. If the lab where a blood sample was tested doesn't do this or doesn't have oversight to ensure it is being done, the results may be invalid.
If you are facing DUI charges, you need an experienced attorney to fight for you. At DUI Defense Team, we have extensive experience with DUI and other criminal matters and we offer a free initial consultation.