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Blood test vs. Breathalyzer in DUI stops

Do you know which test to use to determine if someone is intoxicated? In this video, we’ll compare and contrast the blood test and the breathalyzer, two common ways to determine intoxication.

Blood tests are more accurate than breathalyzers, but breathalyzers are more commonly used in DUI stops. This video will help you decide which test to use in a DUI stop, so you can make the right decision for the circumstances.

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Transcript

Speaker 1
00;00;00;02 – 00;00;01;13
Hi, everyone. I often get asked,’Should I refuse a test
if I get arrested for a DUI?
This is Christina Williams with Just Criminal Law.
Speaker 2
00;00;10;04 – 00;00;11;19
And this is David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. Okay.
So ‘Should I refuse a test when I get stopped for DUI?
What are the tests?
Speaker 1
00;00;20;17 – 00;00;23;08
Well, you’ll be asked to either give a sample of your breath
or a sample of your blood or urine.
Speaker 2
00;00;29;11 – 00;00;29;23
All right. So the first one are that there’s the blood test.
There’s the breath test. Are we talking about the breath test
that happens by the side of the road in the field? The Sobriety test?
Speaker 1
00;00;41;00 – 00;00;41;15
No. So this is, that is a test that officer may ask you to take.
And that’s out in the field of what we are talking about
is once you get to the jail and the officer, you know, reads you your
implied consent and asks you if you’ll submit to a test,
they are asking you, first of all, if you will submit
to a breath test generally,and that’s the ECI machine.
00;01;06;19 – 00;01;06;28
It’s a big machine that sits on a table,not a little portable handheld device.
And they’re going to ask you if you will blow into that machine,
if they suspect you, of being under the influence of alcohol.
Speaker 2
00;01;20;00 – 00;01;20;28
Okay. Okay. So so far, we’re just talking about somebody being stopped
with a suspicion of being under the influence for alcohol.
So that’s the breath test. And then the other one is the blood test, right?
Speaker 1
00;01;31;01 – 00;01;32;07
Right. And so if they suspect that you’re under the influence
of a controlled substance,that’s not going to be measured
in your breath like marijuana or some other drug.
Then they will ask you to take a blood or a urine test and most often
they’re just going to ask for the blood test.
00;01;49;17 – 00;01;53;08
And so those are the two types of tests that you’ll be asked to give
if you go to the jail.
Speaker 2
00;01;57;17 – 00;01;59;10
Okay. So to answer the question that we kicked off in this,
should I refuse one of those? What’s the answer?
Speaker 1
00;02;06;20 – 00;02;09;17
Well, you can refuse to take a test, just like if
law enforcement was knocking at your the door of your house
and wanted to come in. You can say no.
But then law enforcement can go to the judge and get a warrant,
which is exactly what they’ll do. And at that point in time,
the judge issues a warrant for your blood.
And so they’re then able to extract that sample from you.
Speaker 2
00;02;32;00 – 00;02;34;00
Okay. I see. So. All right. So is there an advantage
to doing one of these versus the other one?
I mean, in other words, not refusing the breath test
and just taking it and avoiding this blood test. How are they the same?
Do you get the same result, I guess?
Speaker 1
00;02;47;26 – 00;02;49;19
Well, in my experience,when you submit to a breath test
and then you ask for a blood test, which you can do, you can ask for both.
When I compare those results side by side,
every single time I’ve seen that happen,
the blood is always slightly higher. So for whatever reason,
your blood is going to come in a little bit higher than your breath.
And you know, that can make a big difference depending on your circumstances
of the outcome of your case.
Speaker 2
00;03;21;17 – 00;03;22;28
So, okay. Yeah. I think we all know that the legal limit is 0.08,
so that means you could possibly blow with the breath test 8.07.
But then if you say,’Well, I’m not going to do that,
you never knew that it would have been .07.
And now you get the blood test and it says 0.09.
Is that possible?
Speaker 1
00;03;45;03 – 00;03;45;18
Right. So, I mean, it can if it’s a close call, it can tip you over
the edge. And actually, you know, then the state has no problem
proving their case if you come back and .08 or greater.
Generally, if they’re allowed to use that result against you,
then, you know, it’s an easier case for the state versus if you took the breath test
and he came back at .07, then, you know, there’s a lot more wiggle room
in negotiating a deal for you. Same way it goes.
Same thing for your driver’s license. So a lot of people don’t know this, but
if you’re a 0.15 or greater, you’re going to
have to have an inner locked device installed in your vehicle.
00;04;28;02 – 00;04;31;27
And so if you come in at 0.14 for your breath test,
you’re not going to have that interlock. But if you say decide
you want a blood test and that result is slightly higher,
you know, you’re not going to know you’re a .04 on the breath test
because you would have elected a blood test and then you’re stuck with the interlock
if you’re a .15 or higher.
Speaker 2
00;04;50;23 – 00;04;51;15
Okay. I see. So there’s a threshold
and you may exercise your right to refuse the breath test,
but you may end up with a warrant for a blood test and get in,
you know, kind of more hot water, it sounds like.
Speaker 1
00;05;04;18 – 00;05;05;02
Right. And just, you know, a little bit of bonus content here.
The mistakes that I see law enforcement make in obtaining
a test result are more often with how they conduct the breath test.
So they are supposed to follow certain steps.
And if they don’t follow them, then we can ask the court
to not let that sample in. And I see that type of mistake
more often than I see a mistake in how they do the blood draw.
Speaker 2
00;05;36;20 – 00;05;37;05
All right. So again, all these things are hard
for ordinary people to work out on their own.
And they need probably to have a lawyer close by to look for mistakes
possibly like that. And how would they get in touch with you?
Speaker 1
00;05;48;29 – 00;05;49;11
Sure. We’ll include a link in the description where they can call, text
or chat with a member of my team. Any time, day or night.
00;05;56;13 – 00;05;57;16
Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at justice,
so make yours count.

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