Chemical Testing

Seattle Lawyers for Criminal Defense in DUI Cases

Certain rules and protocols must be followed if an officer asks to conduct chemical testing in connection with a suspected DUI. If officers fail to follow rules or honor your constitutional rights in relation to DUI chemical testing, it may be possible to get the evidence from the chemical testing suppressed. It is wise to consult an experienced Seattle DUI attorney who can help you develop a defense to a drunk driving charges, and that defense may involve challenging the methods or results of chemical testing. The lawyers of Blair & Kim may be able to represent you.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent

Under Washington’s implied consent law, if you are legally arrested by an officer with probable cause to think you have been driving under the influence, you have consented to taking a chemical test for purposes of gauging your blood alcohol content. You need to take the test within 2 hours of driving. Usually, you will be offered a breath test. Blood tests are more often used when a police officer is concerned you’re under the influence of drugs or if you’re unconscious.

Types of Chemical Testing

In order to secure a DUI conviction based on a per se illegal level of alcohol being present in your system, the prosecutor needs to show you were operating your car with a blood alcohol concentration of at least. 08%. Field sobriety tests, as well as an officer’s observations and opinions about your degree of intoxication may be the basis for probable cause to arrest you. Chemical tests may involve testing your blood, breath, or urine. Most commonly, drivers suspected to be under the influence are given breath tests. The first breath test is a portable breath test used to establish probable cause for purpose of arrest, and the second breath test is a breathalyzer machine test at the police station. Blood tests are harder to administer and need to be conducted at medical facilities. It can take longer to get results. If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, a police officer may try to get a search warrant for your blood.

Defenses Related to Chemical Testing

You might assume that there’s nothing you can do in response to DUI charges in which the chemical testing showed your blood alcohol content was .08% or higher. However, you shouldn’t assume that pleading guilty is the right step. The prosecutor must establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if you and your attorney can show that the chemical testing evidence against you isn’t accurate or reliable, or if you can get it suppressed, the prosecutor may not be able to prove that you committed a DUI offense.

When we represent a client, we review all aspects of a blood test. For example, we will look at whether the phlebotomist was allowed to draw your blood in the state, whether there was proper sanitization of the phlebotomist’s hands, whether the tubes were properly labeled, whether the site of the blood draw was properly cleaned, whether a correctly sized needle was used to draw blood, whether it was properly inserted into the vein, and other potential issues.

In any given case, we may be able to show that there was a deviation from protocol that makes the test results unreliable. We may also be able to bring a motion to suppress unreliable chemical testing. Even if we don’t win a motion to suppress, we may be able to show the jury that there are discrepancies that raise reasonable doubt. We’ll look closely for errors in the collection and sample preservation method, examining, among other things, whether the tubes of blood were appropriately handled after collection. We’ll also look to make sure the tube was free of contaminants, and whether the presence of bacteria could have generated the presence of alcohol through a fermentation process after the blood draw.

Finally, we will look at the chain of custody. The government needs to be able to show that the blood was appropriately transported and stored by the people in the chain of custody of the chemical testing sample in order to be able to use the evidence.

Consult a Seasoned DUI Attorney in Seattle

If you’re charged with a DUI in Seattle, your defense may require close examination of the chemical testing that was performed. Our criminal defense lawyers review all angles of each case in order to develop defense strategies for our clients. We represent people in areas including Kings County, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
Mark C. Blair has no rival in his field in Seattle. A consummate professional. Communication was brief, straightforward, easy to understand, and without a typical condescending tone you can sometimes experience from attorneys on top of their field. Correspondence was timely and always affective. Any in need of criminal defense, should have a conversation with Mr. Blair, and you will quickly see and feel, no further contacts, referrals, or phone calls need be made. The money and time that can be saved by streamlining future contact and collateral damage in the sentencing process will far and away be worth every penny of the fee structure. Thank you very very much Mark Blair. N.Mark French
Sara Kim of BlairKim is a great attorney. I had never before had representation or dealt with the legal system and she made it very easy for me. She converted the legalese into laymans terms for me and helped me to understand the steps of the process. When I hesitated on certain decisions, Sara gave me the confidence and encouragement to proceed – especially since it was most beneficial to me in the long run. Sara is very straightforward and professional while also being personable and pleasant to deal with. Tamara
Sara Kim was the perfect lawyer for our situation. We were determined not to involve the courts in our divorce. Within the first 30 minutes of consultation, Sara proposed an equitable formula for division of property which we used to negotiate an agreement that felt fair to both of us. Our flat fee arrangement with Sara covered the filing of paperwork which alleviated much pressure for us during a very stressful time. I highly recommend Sara for her flexibility, professionalism, and efficiency. Carrie