Blood Analysis: Hardly a Gold Standard in DWI Testing

As many people have learned in the past few years when pulled over for a suspected DUI, Louisiana is a “no refusal” state when it comes to testing your blood alcohol level. Louisiana’s Implied Consent Law results in harsh punishments if you refuse a blood alcohol test, and some parishes, such as Jefferson Parish, can require a blood search warrant.

To avoid penalties or because you think you are intoxicated, you may agree to a Breathalyzer test or provide a blood or urine sample. Once collected, your 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 for drinking and driving. 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.

A top DUI attorney, however, understands the possibility of a mistake during a reading of your blood alcohol and will carefully examine the testing procedure and results to save your driving record and help you avoid jail time. Bates and McMillin is a New Orleans DUI defense law firm that fights for their clients rights, and is ready to challenge the State’s case against you.

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 while driving. 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 in order to prevent you from being found guilty of driving under the influence.

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 analyzes your blood alcohol level via your urine, and conducts a similar analysis on urine samples that are obtained by the police from willing subjects charged with driving while intoxicated. Again, urine tests cannot show quantification or levels of drugs, but only presence. Therefore, a positive result, meaning a number above the legal blood content, in such a test is not automatic proof of impairment.

The truth is that no tests have ever been conducted to accurately show that a particular individual is impaired with any particular level of drugs in his/her system.

Inaccuracies When Analyzing Your Blood Alcohol Content

These are the reasons that the crime lab “gold standard” is really no standard at all for establishing if a person is guilty of drinking and driving. The blood alcohol 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

Sadly, many criminal defense attorneys are completely unaware that such an analysis can frequently be questioned to fight a DUI conviction. 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. Thus, James Bates will examine if a mistake led to an incorrect blood alcohol level during testing. An inaccurate blood alcohol test can result in your DUI arrest being dismissed.

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 protect your driver’s license and avoid a criminal record or conviction for multiple DUI offenses, 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 from DWI and driving under the influence of drugs 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 504-259-7461 if you were arrested for DWI in any other parish in Louisiana, including: