It varies. It depends on the person, on their body fat amount, what they had to eat, when they last consumed alcohol, and how their body metabolizes alcohol. There are some people that have consumed so much alcohol that literally 24 hours later, they are still technically under the influence.
Women tend to have higher blood alcohol contents with less alcohol than men; it just is a matter of biology and how women process alcohol, usually their size and how much body fat they have. There are a lot of different factors involved; ten different people can drink the same amount of alcohol and have ten different blood alcohol contents.
Can Something Else Mimic Alcohol In A Blood Draw Test Result?
The blood test itself can distinguish between different types of alcohol, so it can distinguish between ethyl alcohol, isopropanol, and acetone. There is nothing chemically that I’m aware of that would appear to be alcohol that truly was not alcohol. There are things that can mimic the outward signs of alcohol. Sometimes, people with diabetes have medical issues, possibly because of diabetic shock, that can mimic the signs and symptoms of alcohol but would not itself result in a blood alcohol content in the system.
There are no drugs or medications that would increase the blood alcohol content, other than something like Nyquil which does contain alcohol. People seem to think that taking certain medications may lead to a rise of the blood alcohol level on a blood or breath test but every time I talk to a scientist about this, they say there is no such medication or drug that would result in a higher blood or breath test results.
Do You Utilize Scientists for Expert Witnesses?
Scientists can definitely be helpful as expert witnesses. We in the defense community have a few scientists that are constantly used in a trial to try to assist in explaining to the jury why the jury should not rely upon the blood or breath test results that the prosecutor is attempting to rely upon. They can be helpful, but they are not always utilized because they are not always necessary.
The scientist that the defense community calls up is often well respected in the scientific community and is not necessarily defense oriented. They are really there just to tell it like it is, which in some cases is not necessarily how the defense wants to present evidence to the jury. Every one of the scientists that the defense calls to the stand does have to be concerned that that scientist will say something that the defense does not want to hear and that the defense does not want to promote to the jury, because they are scientists, not defense witnesses.
They are going to be fair, they are going to be honest, they are not going to change their answers for the benefit of the defense, they are going to tell it like it is and answer the questions that are asked by both the prosecution and the defense, and the defense sometimes does not like the answers that their own witness has to say.
How Often Do Blood Draws Occur In A DUI Situation?
They are more common. The only city that does not rely upon it is Tempe. Tempe is still primarily a breath test city. They will rely on a blood test if the officer suspects drugs or medications or if the person refuses the breath test but, generally speaking, Tempe relies on Intoxilyzer breath testing results.
Most other cities or jurisdictions will rely either solely on blood tests or blood tests in combination with breath tests. Scottsdale, for example, will have people blow into an Intoxilyzer breath testing device and they will also draw blood, but they are going to rely on breath tests unless the defense counsel challenges the breath test results or the defense counsel sets the case to trial or the defense counsel retest the blood themselves, then that would prompt the prosecutor to test the blood sample as well.
Are the Penalties Harsher In A Blood Draw DUI Case?
The only difference could be whether they may be required to pay restitution for the use of a blood draw kit. Generally speaking, the margin of error on a blood test is plus or minus five percent, while the margin of error on a breath test is considered to be plus or minus ten percent.
Blood test results obviously take a lot longer. Blood test results take or can take quite a long time when testing for alcohol. If the prosecution then decides to also test for drugs or medications, it can take even longer. It is not uncommon for the case to basically be put on pause for upwards of six or eight months, sometimes even a year, waiting for those blood test results to come in.
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