DUI Blood Alcohol Level | DUI Blood Test vs. DUI Breath Test
∗ By “breath test” we mean the breath test taken at the police station. One that is taken with a BAC machine to measure a person’s blood alcohol content level. Not to be confused with the breath test taken with a PBT at the time of the traffic stop.
DUI BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL: INTRODUCTION
Let us present the following hypothetical scenario. You were at a social gathering. You were there for 2-3 hours and, during that time, you had 3 mixed drinks. You leave the gathering and head home; driving slightly above the speed limit. Something like 40 mph in a 35 mph limit zone.
You are stopped for speeding; the officer smells alcohol; you admit to drinking (which you should never do); you accept the officer’s offer to take the field sobriety tests (again, which you should never do); and now you are in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car.
Next, the officer will transfer you to a police station (or a similar facility) for a DUI breath test to measure your blood alcohol level. At this point, you have two options. One, proceed to the station for a DUI breath test. Or, two, you can request to be transported to a hospital for a DUI blood test instead.
The important question now is: should you take the breath test or should you request a blood test?
DUI BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL: SHOULD I TAKE A BREATH TEST OR A BLOOD TEST?
In Washington State, a DUI blood alcohol level test can be a breath test or a blood test. Deciding whether to take the blood test or the breath test could make or break your DUI case. The answer to this very important question will depend on your circumstances. The purpose of this article is to discuss the two tests in relation to each other to help you decide which test to take.
DUI BLOOD TEST: DUI BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL
The DUI blood test is much more accurate than the DUI breath test. In addition, after your blood has been tested for alcohol, a sample of your blood is preserved. This will allow your defense team to retest your blood sample at a later time. Your DUI defense attorney may use the sample blood to argue that it is not your blood or that the BAC was inaccurate.
The DUI blood test may help someone whose DUI blood alcohol content is, in fact, below the legal limit. For someone whose blood alcohol is above the legal limit, choosing a DUI blood test may not be a good strategy because DUI blood tests are more accurate.
DUI BREATH TEST: DUI BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL
DUI breath tests are not accurate and are notorious for producing false readings. This will allow your DUI defense team to provide evidence to show that the BAC machine used in your case was inaccurate. The breath test may help someone whose true BAC is above the legal limit of .08%.
For someone whose BAC is, in fact, under the legal limit, taking the breath test over the blood test may be risky because the inaccuracy of the breath test may show them to be over the limit.
Deciding whether to take the DUI blood test or the DUI breath test is a very important decision. The answer to this question will depends on the circumstances of your case. If you are confident that your DUI blood alcohol level is under the legal limit of .08%, then you are probably better off with the DUI blood test. If you feel that your BAC is probably above the legal limit, then you are better off taking the DUI breath test.
Greg Sarkisyan is an attorney at Community Law Firm, PLLC, and the author of this post. If you would like to read more, visit us here. If you need legal assistance call (206) 771-4343 or e-mail Help@CommunityLawPLLC.com.