Blood Analysis: Hardly a Gold Standard in DWI Testing

As many people have learned in the past two years, if you decline to take a breath alcohol test, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department will obtain a warrant to take your blood by needle from your arm. You have no right or option to refuse. Typically, this is called a “no refusal” policy and has been adopted by many Louisiana Parishes, as well as in many other states.

Once collected, your blood sample is then sent to the Louisiana Crime Lab, which analyzes the sample and issues a findings report to the law enforcement agency that arrested you. It will show the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) or the presence of any drugs in the blood, whether prescribed or illegal. These tests are considered by many in law enforcement and in the criminal justice system to be the “gold standard” of drug and alcohol testing.

What Happens When the Sample Is Positive for Drugs or Alcohol?

Narcotics (pain relief drugs), anxiety medications (such as Xanax or Valium), muscle relaxers (Soma), and some psychotropic drugs taken for depression, bipolar disorder or panic disorder may cause impairment. The same is true of alcohol. A BAC of .08 is a legally “presumed” impairment. Any prosecutor in a DWI case will always try to prove that the presence of drugs in the blood is proof of impairment, regardless of the actual level of physical impairment. However, the presumption of impairment is not in fact proof, and may be rebutted.

It is important to remember that the presence of any of those drugs or alcohol does not automatically cause or prove impairment.

The crime lab is also engaged in urine testing, and conducts a similar analysis on urine samples that are obtained by the police from willing subjects. Again, urine tests cannot show quantification or levels of drugs, but only presence. Therefore, a positive result in such a test is not automatic proof of impairment.

The truth is, no tests have ever been conducted which will show that any particular individual will be impaired with any particular level of drugs in his/her system.

The Gold Standard That Isn’t

Additionally, the analyses done by the crime lab, while theoretically very accurate tests, are likely to be questionable or dubious because of four elements:

  • Human errors in blood sample collection and transport to the crime lab
  • Human errors in the preparation of the blood sample for analysis
  • Human errors in operation or analysis of the sample by the Gas Chromatograph
  • Poor quality control in analysis of samples

These are the reasons that the crime lab “gold standard” is really no standard at all. Sadly, many attorneys are completely unaware that such an analysis can frequently be questioned. These so-called “indisputable” findings can be invalidated if resources are available to contest and reexamine the crime lab report, and if the defense attorney has the expertise to handle such a case.

Where to Get Help For Your DUI Arrest

There are only two lawyers in Louisiana who have had hands-on training in chemical analysis of blood or urine in Driving While Intoxicated cases and who have studied under the guidance of Dr. Harold McNair and Dr. Lee Polite, the leading experts and teachers in the use of Gas Chromatographs. James Bates is one of those two Louisiana lawyers with that training. That instruction enables him to find the errors and discrepancies that will exist in most reports of the Louisiana Crime Lab.

James Bates has over 45 years of experience as an attorney and has concentrated his practice almost exclusively in DWI or DUI defense for over 15 years. And since he has more training than most police officers in the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, he is the attorney you need to win.

When you must do everything possible to avoid a criminal record and protect your driver’s license, James Bates is the attorney you need to defend you. There are many good criminal defense attorneys. But there are only two criminal defense attorneys in Louisiana who have the training to discredit the results of blood or urine analysis in drug or DWI cases, and very very few criminal defense attorneys who have the specialized training required to defend any DWI case.

If your freedom and livelihood are at stake because of a DWI arrest, call Bates and McMillin today. Ask for a FREE CASE EVALUATION now.

 

Call 985-643-0316 if you were arrested for DWI in any of the following parishes:

Call 985-503-2344 if you were arrested for DWI in any other parish in Louisiana, including: