The prosecution’s case against a defendant charged with a DUI in Colorado will hinge on the strength of the evidence. More specifically, the prosecution will have to prove whether the BAC level of the defendant was above the legal limit when they were pulled over.
Two types of chemical tests are used to assess a motorist’s BAC level, which include a blood test and a breath test. A urine test may also be administered in rare cases. If you face charges of driving when drunk after failing on any of these tests, it is crucial to be aware that you may still be able to avoid a criminal conviction.
It is necessary for a person arrested for DUI to take a blood or breath test under Colorado law, or you could automatically lose your driving privileges. The test should be administered within two hours of when you were last operating a vehicle.
Chemical Tests: Types
A car driver arrested on suspicion of being behind the wheel when intoxicated can undergo a blood or breath test. But if the law enforcement officer reasonably suspects that the individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drugs, they can ask for a blood test.
If you are taken to a hospital, a blood test may be the only option as breath testing may not be available. The motorist may have to consent to a urine test if both breath and blood testing are not possible. But urine testing is only undertaken rarely.
The officer will typically administer this test using a portable breathalyzer. This test is meant to indirectly determine your blood alcohol concentration level by assessing the amount of alcohol in your breath. The alcohol level in the breath will be converted to an approximate blood alcohol level through a specific formula.
Blood testing refers to taking a sample from your blood to assess the alcohol concentration in your bloodstream. Notably, the alcohol level in the body may spike within around one hour after drinking. The blood rapidly absorbs alcohol, making it easy to determine the BAC via a blood sample.
Urine analysis involves evaluating a urine sample to determine the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. But alcohol does not show up in urine immediately, taking up to two hours. Urine testing is an indirect approach to measuring your BAC level by establishing the amount of alcohol in urine.
Urine tests are not commonly used, but such tests are used in situations where other tests are unavailable, or the motorist cannot submit to blood testing for medical reasons. Urine analysis can gauge the level of drugs or alcohol in the suspect’s body.
Limitations of Chemical Testing
The use of chemical testing in DUI cases is fraught with several problems. These tests’ outcomes are not always an ideal indicator of the motorist’s impairment when they were behind the wheel. Also, many times, false positives can show up as higher BAC levels or “drugs” on a chemical test.
Also, chemical testing has to be administered correctly to be reliable, including having the tests performed accurately, the usage of well-maintained and calibrated equipment, trained staff, using accurate observation times, employing acceptable medical practices, and taking precautions to prevent misidentification or contamination.
If the breath or blood tests were performed improperly, a seasoned DUI defense attorney can challenge that evidence before a judge or have the evidence suppressed to prevent it from being used against the defendant.
Challenging BAC Tests Results
A DUI defense attorney could cite the following procedural violations to challenge the reliability and admissibility of your chemical BAC test results:
- You were not allowed a reasonable opportunity to consult a lawyer before submitting to the test.
- The law enforcement office did not give you a copy of the test outcomes in a timely way.
- The officer did not have the proper certification to perform the breath test.
- The breath machine did not have the approval of regulatory agencies.
- The testing equipment was not appropriately checked for accuracy before your BAC test
- The test was not undertaken per the state laws.
- A second chemical test of the same type, or for a reasonable cause, of a different type to identify drugs other than or in addition to alcohol, was not undertaken at least ten minutes after the initial test.
- There is no evidence to indicate that your chemical test was performed within two hours of when you were last behind the wheel.
Robust Defense against DUI Charges
The skilled lawyers at the law offices of Anderson & Carnahan can provide reliable legal counsel and defense if you face incarceration, license suspensions, fines, and other consequences due to a chemical BAC test result after being arrested for DUI. Our DUI defense attorneys have comprehensive knowledge and experience in defending clients against various DUI charges, including those involving chemical tests and high BAC levels.
We will create a strong, comprehensive, and unassailable strategy to challenge your BAC results’ reliability or admissibility. To schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled DUI defense attorney, call today at (719) 473-9099.