Independent DUI Blood and Urine Testing in DC
In some circumstances, after a person has been arrested on charges of driving under the influence, police officers may get a sample of the person’s blood or urine to test for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances. The prosecutors at the DC attorney general’s office can then use the results of these tests as evidence that the person was intoxicated when he or she was driving.
With that said, if a person who has been charged with driving under the influence is facing evidence of intoxication based on the results of a blood and urine test, one method of challenging that evidence is by having an independent laboratory test the same blood and urine sample that was tested by the DC government in the case. This would mean that the defendant, through his or her DC DUI lawyer, would have to request access to the same sample of urine or blood that was tested by the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and submit that sample for testing by an independent laboratory.
Purpose of Independent Testing
A person who is facing a charge of driving under the influence based on any part of the results of a blood or urine test might want to have independent blood and urine testing done if he or she wants to challenge the methodology or the results of the DC government tests.
There are many instances in which independent testing of blood or urine has resulted in findings different from the results produced by the government. Those differences could be the result of the taken samples, improper methodology, or sometimes even corruption on the part of the government agencies doing the testing.
If the defendant wants to independently test a blood or urine sample that was provided to law enforcement agents after a DUI arrest, then the defendant would have to follow a certain criteria. The defendant would need to use a testing laboratory that has been certified by the state government and possesses all the required licensing and meets any other requirements necessary in order to be a functioning laboratory.
They would also need to use licensed scientists who have received the proper education and training required to conduct the relevant test.
If the defendant follows these requirements and produces the full results of the tests so that the government prosecutors have the ability to inspect the methodology used, then the defendant might be able to use the results of independent testing in court.
Qualifying the Analyst as an Expert
In order for a scientist to analyze the samples produced by the defendant for independent testing, the defendant will need to certify the scientist as an expert in the field. That would mean that the scientist would need to have completed specialized training to conduct toxicology examinations and would need to have up-to-date qualifications and training to ensure that they have the appropriate background to serve as an expert in forensic toxicology.
Additional Defense Evidence
The results of an independent blood or urine test could be helpful in some circumstances to challenge the results produced by the government’s chief medical examiner. But challenging the results of a urine test might only be one part of a broader defense strategy in challenging all of the government’s evidence. The government does not necessarily need the result of a breath, blood, or urine test in order to convict an individual of driving under the influence.
Because of this, a defense attorney will need to analyze and challenge any other evidence that the prosecutor is planning on using. Such evidence could include the results of standardized field sobriety tests or the recollections of the officer in his or her observations of the defendant’s actions as the defendant was driving and after they were removed from the vehicle.
Nonetheless, challenging the results of any toxicology test could be a very important first step in creating a broad defense strategy in a DUI case.