Several defense tactics can be used to contest your DUI charges in Pala. In case you submitted a blood or urine test sample during the arrest, the law requires the arresting officer to retain a sample of the blood or urine for independent retesting and analysis by the defense. If the independent test results work in your favor, you can use them to contest the charges. San Diego DUI Attorney has the expertise to help you exercise blood split motions.
Overview of California Blood Split Motions
The prosecution begins to build DUI charges against you the moment you are stopped in traffic on suspicions of DUI. If the officer has reasonable doubt that you are drunk or drugged, he or she will make an arrest. You will then go to the local police station or hospital to submit a blood, breath, or urine test sample. Note that the breathalyzer tests conducted at the time of the traffic stop are optional. But once you get to the police station, the breath tests are mandatory. As per California highway statutes, all drivers give consent to BAC tests when they receive a driver’s license or drive on a United States highway. Failing to submit a blood alcohol concentration test will result in enhanced sentencing.
Once you are at the police station, you will have to decide on the test that you prefer. You can choose a blood or breath test or urine analysis. After submitting the samples, they will undergo testing, and the results documented in the arresting officer’s report. If the tests show your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08%, the results can and will be used as evidence against you in a court of law. In the event you suspect the BAC results are inaccurate because you were sober or because the BAC results are falsely high, you can request a sample of your blood or urine to conduct independent tests.
If you opted for a blood or urine sample, your Pala DUI Attorney would proceed to register or submit a blood split motion. Blood split is a practice of splitting blood samples into two containers. Blood or urine tests are superior over breath tests because, in breath tests, it is not possible to store a sample of the breath for future separate and independent retesting. As per the law, when conducting BAC tests, the arresting officer should get two containers for a blood or breath test. The sample in one of the bottles is used to administer the BAC tests while the other is stored for future purposes in case you are charged with DUI and want to conduct separate retesting.
The blood split motion that your Pala DUI Attorney files gives you as a driver the opportunity to retrieve the blood sample and have different agencies conduct independent testing. Your Pala DUI Attorney will use the results of these separate tests if they are in your favor. In case they are against you, you shouldn’t feel worried because they will not tamper with your DUI case.
Also, note that if you file a blood split motion but the arresting officer didn’t store a sample for later use, your attorney could compel the court to remove urine or blood test results from the evidence. In the end, the prosecution is left with a weak case that forces them to offer a plea bargain or dismiss the DUI charges.
Similarly, the sample that is stored at the police station or hospital should be well preserved to avoid contamination. It is possible to contest the DUI allegations if the police hoard the blood or urine sample but fail to ensure proper preservation. If the independent tests show there is contamination in the stored sample because of inadequate preservatives, you could challenge the BAC outcome evidence.
As mentioned earlier, the law doesn’t require police officers to preserve a sample of your breath for future testing. But this shouldn’t mean you cannot contest breath test results. Your Pala DUI attorney can exploit the arresting officer's mistakes or weaknesses as failing to comply with all title 17 guidelines on administration of breath tests. If the tests were not conducted properly, there is room for errors; hence the results are invalid.
Incidences When Blood Tests Happen During a DUI Arrest
You, as a driver, will be required to submit a blood test if:
The police officer has a reasonable belief that you were DUI of drugs
A breath testing device isn’t available
A medical condition hinders you from submitting a breath test
People with particular medical conditions are exempted from submitting blood tests. The law also requires the police not to force people into taking a blood test unless they have a warrant. However, failure to take a chemical test in California attracts severe consequences, including driver’s license suspension for twelve months.
Procedure for Conducting a Blood Test
If your DUI defense attorney registers a motion as per PC 1538.5, the burden of proof goes to the prosecution. The prosecutor will need to prove the reason for conducting the blood test. For this reason, you can use the fourth amendment as your defense if the right procedures were not used or if the tests caused you distress. The law provides various conditions under which a blood test is acceptable. These are:
Where the arresting officer testifies in court that the blood sample was drawn voluntarily
Where the arresting officers testified that a registered blood technician or phlebotomist drew the blood sample. Take note that if the tests are conducted by another person other than the authorized one, your attorney can challenge the charges. A registered blood technician or an authorized party is essential because he or she has all the knowledge of title 17 and will handle the samples appropriately without causing any contamination
Evidence from the police officer corroborating that the needle used to draw the blood sample was from a new and sealed package
Testimony by the officer that you didn’t display any signs of distress or discomfort at the time of taking the blood sample
Where the testimony of the officer shows, he or she was present during the whole process
Testimony from the police officer that the area where the blood sample was drawn was adequately cleaned before the extraction of blood
Testimony by the arresting officer that the area of blood extraction was properly bandaged after removal
Testimony by the arresting officers that the samples were taken immediately. Waiting for too long before taking samples might result in a false reading
Your DUI case will become a piece of cake if the burden of proof in the blood split motion shifts to the prosecution. A DUI case is dismissed if the arresting officer’s testimony fails to affirm the above requirements. Failure by the prosecuting attorney to ask questions to declare the above conditions will also provide your Pala DUI Attorney with an opportunity to get an acquittal for the charges just because of not asking questions.
Filing a Blood Split Motion After Taking a Urine Test
Some people assume that blood split motions are for people who take blood tests only. However, it is untrue because even if it is a urine sample that was obtained for testing, you can still file the motion. However, there are specific title 17 requirements. These are:
Collection of a sample of your urine within twenty minutes after you have first urinated
Gathering of enough urine to allow for multiple testing of the sample
Retention of the sample for no more than twelve months after it was collected so that it can be provided to you once you file a blood split motion
Note that although you might take a urine test, these tests are not as prevalent as breath and blood tests. You can take a urine test if there is no other test available or when you have a medical condition that prevents you from submitting other tests.
Procedure for Making a Blood Split Motion
The motion commences with your Pala DUI Attorney requesting for a blood or urine sample from the prosecutor informally. The majority of prosecutors will be willing to provide these samples upon request. If 15 days pass without the prosecutor honoring your request to provide the samples, then the court can order them to avail the samples. Failure by the prosecutor to obey the court order will result in the following:
Contempt of court proceeding against the prosecutor
Preventing the prosecution from using chemical tests results as proof in court
Notifying the jury of the delay
Sometimes you might request a sample but fail to conduct any tests. There are no set penalties for not testing the samples obtained. However, the prosecution will be free to introduce the original chemical tests results in court, irrespective of whether you check the samples or not.
Effects of Filing Blood Split Motions on your DUI Case
The majority of DUI defense attorneys who file the blood split motions hope to prove a breach of title 17 by the arresting officer. If it’s the blood samples that were not correctly stored or conducted, the attorney will quickly demonstrate to the court that the evidence from the blood test is unreliable. Results are ruled out as biased if there is an assumption that external forces interfered with the samples.
If, for example, a person who weighs 160 pounds decides to take a few beers then drives home, in case he or she is stopped, the BAC results will read inaccurately high because of the mouth residue. This is even though someone with this weight can take more than four beers. In such a case, a blood split motion will come in handy because minor problems like blood fermentation or coagulation will be noticed during independent testing of the blood sample rendering the results from the previous tests invalid. If the first blood sample test shows your BAC at the time of driving was .08% or above, but the second one conducted separately shows the BAC was within the legal limit, then the case will be dismissed. For this reason, whenever a sample of your urine or blood is extracted, it should be stored appropriately for purposes of a blood split motion.
Keep in mind that the second test of the stored sample doesn’t always give a favorable outcome. Sometimes, the results of the test will come out, indicating your BAC level was higher than the one recorded in the original test. Even if the results are against you, they won’t have any adverse effects on your case. The reason is that the defense has no legal obligation to disclose the test results, unlike the prosecution, who have a responsibility to communicate BAC test results.
Memoranda Relating to Blood Split Motions
There is blood or urine splitting in California, but there is no breath splitting. Urine samples are, however, rarely sanctioned unless other tests are not possible because of medical conditions. Apart from urine splitting, other memoranda relating to blood split motions include:
Memorandum Supporting the Defendant Motion in Limine, Introducing Partition Ratio evidence
If the arresting officer conducts a complementary breath test or uses a breath test to determine your BAC, you can raise the issue of inconsistencies in breath or blood tests. Partition ratio is the relationship between the alcohol in your breath or blood sample. If there is a massive difference between the two tests, your DUI attorney can use this to show the court how unreliable the tests are thus working in your favor.
Preliminary Memorandum Supporting the Defendants Motion to Impede Retrograde Extrapolation of Evidence
Retrograde extrapolation is the doubtful act of looking at chemical evidence at certain hours and predicting what it could have been reading at an earlier time. An example of this act is when an officer reads the chemical tests at midnight and estimates what the test would be reading two hours to midnight. The prosecution uses the estimation to show that you, as a defendant, was more drunk or drugged at the time of the arrest. Your attorney could argue that the assumption is not valid because it is subject to marginal errors hence unreliable.
Preliminary Memorandum Supporting the Defendants Motion to Disqualify Test Evidence in FSTs
While some people might think test results from field sobriety tests work, the truth is that they don’t. If the prosecution has used test evidence of field sobriety tests, your attorney can request the court to disqualify the evidence because it is invalid.
Ways in which Blood Splitting Motions can be Used to Fight DUI Charges
As stated earlier, whether or not you decide to test the second sample of the blood or urine, the prosecution will introduce the test results of the first sample in court. There are several positions you can take for the blood split motion to work in your favor when defending against DUI charges. These are:
Your BAC at the Time of Driving was Less than .08 Percent
Specific factors can result in falsely high BAC results. The first blood or urine test might indicate that your BAC level is .15%. But after further investigation and separate retesting of the second sample, the test results show that your BAC was .06%. In such incidences, the court will acquit you of the DUI charges.
During a traffic stop, if the police officer notices the presence of drugs other than alcohol, he or she is allowed to conduct a blood test. When this happens, your DUI attorney can request a second sample to search for contaminants. If the sample is contaminated, the original test results will be removed from the evidence forcing the prosecutor to offer you a plea deal or drop the charges.
Your Sample was Switched with that of Another Person
If a blood or urine test determines that you had a BAC of .08% or above at the time of arrest, but you are sure the results are inaccurate because you only had one beer or didn’t take any alcohol or drugs, you can request the court for an independent retest. If the retest shows that your BAC level is .04 percent, then your attorney could assert that the samples were switched or got mixed up hence the reason for the erroneous reading.
If you request a blood split and unfortunately there was not enough for splitting or the samples are not availed promptly, then you can use this as your defense. Blood or urine samples should be extracted in large amounts to allow splitting and should be stored for up to a year. Violation of these title 17 provisions could work in your favor.
Other defenses you could use include claiming that a high BAC level doesn’t directly translate to drunk driving. Also, if they extracted blood to test for marijuana or drugs, you can argue that the presence of other drugs in your blood could have resulted in the falsely high concentration levels.
In general, there is an assumption that the BAC results by the prosecution are always accurate. It is up to your attorney to compel the jury to question the validity of the accuracy of the chemical test results by the prosecution. That way, you will get a plea deal for lower charges or get acquitted.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
If you would like to talk to a legal expert in Pala about blood split motions, we encourage you to contact San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150.