How Long Does It Take to Get DUI Blood Test Results?
When one's blood alcohol concentration level is 0.08% or higher, this is considered legal intoxication in the state of Texas. There are multiple methods a police officer may use to determine whether an individual's BAC was high enough for a DUI conviction. Two of the most common approaches are an on-site breath test or if needed, a DUI blood test.
Breath or Blood Test Options
If a suspected individual claims that he or she is sober enough to operate a vehicle, yet fails a breath test, a blood test most likely will be requested. After the initial attainment, the officer involved will ask the defendant if he or she would agree to have a blood test conducted. If the individual agrees, excellent. On the contrary, if the person arrested says no, the officer then can obtain a blood search warrant forcing the DWI blood test.
The Good News
The length of time for the blood test results to come in can vary. Most results are not available until at least 10 days after the blood draw. This is good news for the convicted. The precious time waiting for the results can be used proactively by discussing the case with and hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Sparks Law Firm wants to be of help! A free consultation can be scheduled today.
The Impact of Blood Alcohol Content and Blood Test Results
One's blood test results can be a huge determining factor in his or her DUI sentencing. Even more of the essence, the results play an imperative role in developing defense strategies.
There are different criminal charges based on offense number. Consequently, a fourth or fifth offense would result in a far more severe punishment than a first offense.
If the DWI blood testing reveals a BAC lower than 0.08%, this can be great news for the defendant. The charge will most likely be dismissed due to insufficient evidence. If the BAC percentage is between 0.08% to 0.014%, Texas law defines the DUI as a Class B misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor would be given if one's BAC is 0.015% or higher.
A DUI becomes a felony after a third offense in the state of Texas. Punishments include expensive fines, jail time, and license suspension. The severity of the punishment will depend on the charge. A third-time offense in Texas can result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or up-to 10 years of jail time.
Why Are DWI Blood Tests Conducted?
A blood test is conducted to confirm an individual's blood alcohol concentration level or BAC. The percentage of alcohol content in one's blood can determine criminal charges and ultimately, sentencing. If the BAC level is above 0.08%, the individual will be subject to a possible DWI arrest.
Texas Law and Blood Testing
Specific protocol for DUI or DWI blood testing is described in the Texas Transportation Code. Known as implied consent law, officers have the jurisdiction to order a blood test without the individual's consent if there was noticeable reason to believe the said individual was drunk or under substance abuse.
Texas protocol was updated due to the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Missouri v McNeely. The case revolved around an individual named Tyler McNeely who was stopped by a police officer after speeding. McNeely was visibly intoxicated and the officer made him do a blood test without consent. The blood alcohol test results came back showing that McNeely indeed had a high BAC level. He received a DWI arrest. As a counteract, McNeely argued that the test could not be considered evidence since it was done without his permission. Even though McNeely was correctly convicted, the Supreme Court found that the officer's actions violated McNeely's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The precedent set by Missouri v McNeely now allows individuals to refuse a blood test. This can result in license suspension. When a driver applies for a license in the state of Texas, he or she is in turn agreeing to implied consent law. If the said convicted individual refuses to receive a blood draw, the officer will have to seek a warrant to perform blood tests or get blood samples.
Blood Sample Regulations
Any blood test requested by a police department must be done by a registered professional nurse, qualified technician, or an approved professional. Often, the convicted will be escorted to a hospital or doctor's office. There is also the option of independent testing.
No matter where the testing occurs, the blood specimen will be handled with care and will be collected in a normal way. The experience will be consistent with any other blood tests. Secondly, one's blood specimen results legally cannot be concealed from the said individual. Once the results come in, the convicted individual has every right to know what his or her blood sample showed.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, “on the request of a person who has given a specimen at the request of a peace officer, full information concerning the analysis of the specimen shall be made available to the person or the person's attorney.”
Along with a breath test and blood test, the police may request a urine test for further clarification. Urine tests do not happen often in the state of Texas. A urine test is easily conducted by having an individual urinate in a small medical container or cup. The urine specimen will then be sent to a lab for examination.
A breath test is conducted by using a device called a breathalyzer. There are different manufacturers and each state may have specific guidelines on what devices are acceptable. Since breathalyzers are a piece of machinery, there is room for unintended errors.
According to DriveSafe, any breathalyzer needs to have the correct calibration to work properly. Calibration refers to "the process of checking and adjusting the sensor within the breathalyzer to ensure it displays an accurate reading."
What does a breathalyzer do? It measures the alcohol concentration on the suspect's breath to determine if the said suspect has surpassed the legal limit of alcohol consumption.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "alcohol breath-testing devices use the amount of alcohol in exhaled breath to calculate the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood."
Interestingly, one's BAC can be determined fairly quickly after alcohol consumption. Alcohol hits the bloodstream within minutes of drinking a beverage or consuming a product with alcohol content. The BACs calculated through breath tests are not as reliable as blood tests, therefore the importance of a blood sample.
Issues with Breath, Blood, and Urine Testing
With many BAC tests accessible, one might think a pretty conclusive picture can be drawn of whether a person had an illegal BAC level. In some cases, this is definitely true. It is important to remember that with all chemical tests, there is room for error.
Errors could happen due to machine glitches, sample contamination, how the blood draw is performed, and intentional manipulation of the specimen, among others. Even breathalyzer tests could provide false or misleading results. There can be alcohol content in other products than the traditional alcoholic beverage. Consequently, breathalyzer tests can falsely accuse someone with a BAC level higher than the legal limit. This is concerning when one's future is on the line. Drinking while driving is a serious offense in the state of Texas.
How Long Will It Really Take to Receive Blood Test Results?
As highlighted above, blood test results can be received as early as 10 days after the testing is complete. It may take longer to receive results, however. In some cases, it may be a few weeks before one's blood alcohol content is determined by a blood draw. This is to the convicted individual's advantage! A longer wait time presents a better opportunity to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney and develop defense strategies.
Sparks Law Firm
At the heart of the Sparks Law Firm philosophy is proactivity, rather than reactivity. When an individual is waiting for the results of a blood test, a meaningful discussion can begin with a Sparks attorney team member.
With a century of combined legal experience, the Sparks Law Firm criminal defense attorney team is ready to be of assistance and serve. A DWI case is a serious situation that requires aggressive representation. The Sparks Law Firm is not afraid to work hard and tirelessly to help its clients.
There are a few distinctions that make Sparks Law Firm stand apart. Firstly, its focus on proactivity. Secondly, every client will be treated with care and respect. The client-attorney relationship is valued and Sparks Law Firm's best DWI lawyers in Fort Worth TX believe trust is a crucial attribute in such a relationship. Thirdly, collaboration and teamwork are viewed as essential. Every case taken on by Sparks Law Firm will be handled by two attorneys, not just one.
The firm serves the Fort Worth community and surrounding areas. If one has personally or has a loved one who has been charged with a DUI or DWI, Sparks Law Firm can be contacted by phone. Call (817) 381-7846. Receive a free consultation today.
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