When a police officer suspects that you might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Pennsylvania, you might be arrested and taken to the police station or hospital for chemical testing. Chemical tests, including blood or breath tests, are used to determine whether or not you have alcohol or drugs in your system within two hours of when you drove, operated, or had actual control over a vehicle. While these tests might be required, they can also produce inaccurate results. Getting help from an experienced DUI lawyer in Chester County at DiCindio Law might help you to challenge these types of tests and defend against your DUI charges.
Understanding the DUI Chemical Tests
Chemical testing of your blood or breath is performed to determine whether you have any intoxicating substances in your body. However, these tests often provide inaccurate results. Inaccurate results can happen when the tests are performed incorrectly, the samples are stored or transported incorrectly, or when the equipment is faulty.
Breath Tests in DUI Cases
There are two different breath tests that might be administered in suspected DUI cases. The officer might ask you to blow into a portable device on the side of the road to determine whether or not there is sufficient probable cause to place you under arrest.
If you are arrested, you may be asked to blow into a breathalyzer device at the police station. While you have the right to refuse the roadside portable breath test, you do not have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test at the police station because of Pennsylvania’s implied consent law. The breathalyzer test can be off which means that it can falsely indicate that you are intoxicated when you are not.
Breath tests only detect the presence of alcohol and are not used to detect drugs. If the officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs, he or she might ask you to submit to either a blood or urine test.
Blood Tests in DUI Cases
If a police officer wants you to submit a blood sample, he or she will either need to first secure a search warrant or obtain your consent. Blood tests are used to determine whether you have drugs or alcohol in your system. However, they must be administered within strict guidelines to ensure the results are accurate. When a blood test is not performed correctly, the results might not be accurate. If the sample was improperly stored or transported, the test results can also be challenged. Finally, if the person who drew your blood or performed the analysis did not have the correct, up-to-date qualifications, your attorney might convince the court to suppress the results from the evidence against you.
What Happens if You Refuse Chemical Tests?
Pennsylvania has an implied consent law that deems everyone who drives in the state as having impliedly consented to chemical testing at the time they submit their applications for driver’s licenses. Under this law, you do not have the right to refuse chemical testing after you have been arrested for a suspected DUI. The officer must advise you about the consequences of refusing chemical tests. If you do refuse, you will face an automatic suspension of your driving privileges and the penalties for the highest BAC DUI.
A first refusal will result in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges for 12 months. For a second refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months.
The warning that officers are supposed to read is filled with legalese and is very long. This makes it difficult for people to understand what they are being warned against when the officers read it to them.
How Can DUI Chemical Tests be Challenged?
A Chester County PA DUI lawyer can analyze the tests that you submitted to identify any problems with how they were administered, the machine or device used, and how any blood or urine samples were stored, transported, and analyzed. Some of the potential issues that might lead to the chemical test results being suppressed include the following:
- The officer who performed the breath test was not currently certified.
- Officer did not wait for 20 minutes after you belched, smoked, or chewed gum before administering the breath test.
- The breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated.
- The breathalyzer machine’s certification was expired.
- The standards used were expired.
- The machine was not properly maintained.
- The technician who drew your blood did not have proper qualifications.
- The person who drew your blood used an alcohol wipe to clean the injection site.
- Your blood samples were improperly stored.
- Your blood samples were improperly transported.
- There was a break in the chain of custody for your blood samples.
- The lab analyst improperly analyzed your blood sample.
Your attorney can file a motion to suppress the test results if any of these problems occurred. If your lawyer is successful, the prosecutor will not be allowed to admit evidence about your chemical test to the jury in a trial against you. In some cases, this might lead to reduced charges or a dismissal of your case, depending on the other evidence the state has against you.
How do I Find a Criminal Defense Attorney near Me?
If you are facing DUI charges in Chester County, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who regularly defends against DUI charges. Retaining the right lawyer might help you to secure a more favorable plea or to get your charges dismissed.
The Chester County PA DUI lawyer at DiCindio Law is a former prosecutor who understands how to defend against drunk driving cases from all angles. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.