Luke Dow Law Firm

DWI False Positives: Blood Test Problems

By Luke Dow on November 10, 2017

A blood sample test vialMany people each year are pulled over and falsely charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). These false drunk driving charges need to be taken seriously since they can have serious repercussions for a person's life. People in the greater Austin area who feel they have been falsely charged with drunk driving can seek legal help at our law firm. We always fight diligently for the rights and interests of our clients.

When assessing a person's sobriety, law enforcement may ultimately rely on a blood test. These sound accurate, but there are important issues with these blood tests to consider. In short, a variety of factors can lead to drunk driving false positives.

Blood Tests and Drunk Driving

Law enforcement officers have a number of ways of determining sobriety among drivers. While many people are familiar with field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests, one of the more reliable options available is a blood test. These sobriety tests involve drawing blood from an individual suspected of drunk driving and having this blood analyzed in a lab to measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

These blood tests allow law enforcement to more accurately assess the amount of alcohol in a person's system. At least, that's the theory.

Are Blood Tests Always Accurate?

No, not always.

While blood tests are technically more accurate at assessing BAC than a breath test or a urine test, they are far from perfect. There are many of flaws and mistakes that can be made that lead to false positives and incorrect BAC readings.

Potential Problems with Blood Test Results

Some potential issues with blood tests to measure BAC include:

  • Issues with Drawing the Blood – If law enforcement does not draw blood at the right time or in the right way, errors can arise. Some studies have found that problems with drawing blood for these samples can lead to false positives up to 50 percent of the time.

  • Improper Handling of a Blood Sample – When blood samples are exposed to potential contaminants or are otherwise improperly handled, there is a chance that this can affect the accuracy of the blood test and the lab findings.

  • Poor Storage of the Blood Sample – Blood samples need to be stored in proper conditions with regard to temperature and protection from sun exposure. If a blood sample is improperly stores, it can lead to false positives and incorrect readings.

  • Mistakes in the Lab – Lab technicians, while professionals, are only human. As such, there are many errors of handling and contamination that can occur in the lab as a result of technician error.

  • Issues with the Accuracy of Lab Equipment – Finally, the lab equipment itself may be at fault, providing readings that are inaccurate. In these cases, even a minor issue with accuracy can mean the difference between the truth and a false positive.

How a DWI Defense Attorney Can Help You

If you're charged with a DWI, it can have a negative impact on your immediate future and could possibly affect your career and other goals down the road. For this reason, it's crucial that you seek the help of a DWI defense attorney to help with your case.

Your lawyer will note potential errors in blood tests and other assessments of your sobriety at the time of your arrest. Your attorney can also note the overall nature of the traffic stop, and determine if law enforcement even had probable cause to pull you over in the first place. Since drunk driving laws in Texas can be complicated for those without a legal background, it's simply common sense to work with a legal expert who has your best interests in mind.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney

For more information about your legal rights and options following a drunk driving arrest, be sure to contact and experienced DWI defense attorney today. The team at the Luke Dow Law Firm is here to help you in your time of legal need.

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