Do Blood Draw Cases Take Longer Because They Are Complicated?
Put simply, the answer is yes; blood test cases do take a lot longer. One of the main reasons for that is the labs; sometimes they take a long time to get the test results back to us.
In some cases, the person will be arrested and the blood drawn, but the test results won’t be back for 45 days. In some cases, the officers will forget to send the blood to the lab, and it’ll sit in the evidence room for 30 days before it’s sent out.
In extreme cases, it can take as much as 6 months to get a test result because they’re backed up. Labs in Utah have gotten to the point where, if they the blood alcohol is over the limit, they won’t test for anything else, even if an officer suspects another controlled substance, because they’re so backlogged.
Blood cases do often drag out they can drag out. Although, breath test cases can drag out, too, because sometimes we have difficulty getting the information we need about the machine and other information. On average, however, the blood test cases are longer than the breath test cases.
What Kind of Experts Are Used in a Blood Draw Case?
In most blood draw cases, the experts I use are analytical chemists, who will look at the lab’s procedures. We look at the procedures that are supposed to be followed, as well as the charts and graphs produced by the chromatographs. When it’s a close call, our expert will be able to show that what the prosecution says isn’t actually true, and demonstrate that other evidence can be seen from a different point of view. Expert witnesses are invaluable on really technical issues.
Can A Blood Test Show Other Things That Might Be Misconstrued as Alcohol?
The gas chromatograph machine should be able to separate the volatile compounds in the blood and ethyl alcohol is the type that we consume and then there are other types of alcohol. The expert witness can spot a peak for ethyl alcohol when it comes real close to a peak for another kind of alcohol, even if there isn’t what’s called clear separation.
Therefore, the argument could be made that well, if those peaks are overlapping or it isn’t what they call the clear separation, then maybe what was tested wasn’t ethyl alcohol, or lab procedures may not have been properly followed and something was mixed with it. In some cases, a machine may have been dirty.
How Often is a Blood Draw Used in DUI Cases?
The number of blood draw cases is increasing, largely because a lot more cases involve something other than alcohol. When an officer believes that alcohol is onboard, then most of the time they will ask for a breath test because that’s pretty easy for them to get. However, if they’re not sure the problem is alcohol, or if they have reason to believe prescription drugs or street drugs like marijuana might be part of the problem, they will opt for the blood test.
I am seeing a lot more DUI drug cases than alcohol cases these days, in part because Utah has a big problem with prescription drugs, at least according to the news. Therefore, I see a lot more blood test cases on average.
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