In Pennsylvania, people who are arrested on suspicion of DUI are asked to submit to chemical testing of their breath, urine, or blood within two hours of when they last drove. This testing is conducted to determine their blood alcohol content or whether drugs are present in their systems. Blood tests are frequently performed because they generally have fewer problems and are more accurate than breath or urine tests. If you were arrested for a DUI and had your blood drawn for chemical testing, you might wonder how long it might take for your results to come back.
In many cases, the state will not begin the court process until the prosecution has received the results of blood tests for the defendants. This is because a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% is enough to establish a per se DUI. Any amount of impairing or illegal drugs is enough to result in charges.
In some cases, your blood test results might come back within a month to one-and-one-half months. However, when the state lab is backed up, the time it might take your blood results to come back could be months. Here is some information from a Chester County DUI lawyer at DiCindio Law about blood tests and what to expect.
Understanding Blood Tests In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, all people who drive within the Commonwealth are deemed to have given their implied consent to chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine to check for the presence of alcohol or drugs when an officer suspects that they might be driving while impaired. This is known as the implied consent law and is found at 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547. Under this statute, you do not have the right to refuse chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine after you have been arrested for a suspected DUI. If you refuse to test, you will face the penalties for the highest BAC DUI, which are more severe than they are for a general impairment DUI. You will also face administrative penalties against your driver’s license if you refuse.
Implied consent does not require you to talk to anyone or do anything. Instead, you only have to operate a vehicle in Pennsylvania for you to be deemed to have given this type of consent.
This means that you must legally submit to one of the following three tests after you have been arrested for a DUI in the Commonwealth:
- Urine test
- Breath test
- Blood test
While you have the right to choose which of these three tests you would prefer to take, one or more of the testing options might not be available in some cases. If you refuse to take the test that is offered to you, your refusal can have serious consequences. Refusing a blood test can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. You will also face the highest level of penalties available for a misdemeanor DUI in Pennsylvania if you are convicted.
Time Frame For Blood Test Results
Blood test results can take as little as a month to one-and-one-half months to come back after a DUI arrest. However, many blood tests will take much longer to come back.
Some of the reasons why a blood test might take a long time to come back include the following:
- The Philadelphia metropolitan area is large.
- There might be many BAC tests waiting to be processed.
- There might be a backlog caused by labor pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Occasionally, the lab might misplace a blood sample or lose one. If it is recovered, the temporary misplacement might result in an added time needed to secure the results. Your attorney can also ask for independent testing of your blood sample.
If your attorney asks for independent testing, the prosecution will have to allow your attorney to have a sample of your blood draw independently tested by a different lab. The time it might take for independent testing results to come back can greatly vary, depending on the lab your attorney chooses and the number of other blood tests they have to perform. Your local DUI lawyer can explain the expected time frame for getting your blood test results back in your DUI case.
Legal Limits In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has established a per se BAC limit for alcohol under 75 Pa. C.S. § 3802(a)(2). Under this subsection, you can be charged with a general impairment DUI if your BAC tests at 0.08% or higher within two hours of when you last drove. If your BAC tests at 0.10% but less than 0.16%, you will be charged with a high BAC DUI. If it tests at 0.16% or higher, you will be charged with the highest BAC DUI, which carries more severe penalties.
However, under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(a)(1), you can still be charged with a DUI if your driving is impaired to the slightest degree by any amount of alcohol. Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(d), you will face the penalties for the highest BAC DUI if you are found to have any amount of illegal drugs in your system, any schedule II or III drug for which you do not have a valid prescription or a metabolite of an illegal or non-prescribed drug.
There are also different limits for people with specific types of jobs while they are on duty and for minors as follows:
- Commercial drivers – 0.04% while operating a commercial vehicle
- School bus drivers – 0.02% while operating a school bus
- Minors younger than 21 – 0.02% at any time
Commercial drivers, bus drivers, and minors also face more severe consequences if they are convicted of DUIs than other motorists at the same levels of impairment.
Can A Blood Test Be Challenged?
While blood tests are generally more accurate than breath or urine tests, they can still be challenged. Your attorney can examine how your blood was drawn, stored, transported, and tested to determine whether mistakes were made.
Some of the potential ways to challenge a blood test include the following:
- Using an alcohol wipe to clean the blood test draw site
- Person drawing the blood did not have the correct certifications
- Blood improperly stored
- Fermentation caused by the medium or temperature
- No documentation for a portion of the chain of custody
- Blood sample lost/misplaced by the lab
- Lab analysts did not have the proper certifications
- Lab analysts made mistakes with the testing or analysis
Get Help From A Local DUI Attorney
If you were arrested for a DUI and are waiting for your blood test results to come back, you should speak to an experienced Chester County DUI lawyer at DiCindio Law. We can review your case and help to identify any problems that might have occurred, including with the blood testing. Call us today at (610) 430-3535 to request a consultation.