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DUI BLOOD TEST

If a law enforcement officer suspects an individual is DUI, he or she may request the individual submit to a blood sample to test for alcohol or controlled substances. An officer may request a blood sample when:

  • The officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the individual is incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle;
  • An individual refuses to take a breath test;
  • An individual was involved in a car accident;
  • An individual blew under the legal limit, but the officer still suspects they were incapable of safe driving;
  • There is no alcoholic odor on the individual or in the vehicle, but the officer suspects impairment by a controlled substance;

It is important to remember evidence from a blood test is admissible in a criminal proceeding for the underlying DUI offense. Evidence of refusal to take a blood test may also be used in any criminal proceeding for the underlying DUI offense.

Chester County and Delaware County DUI Blood Test Attorney

If you were arrested for DUI involving a blood test to determine whether you were under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, it is important to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in Pennsylvania’s DUI laws. Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm will discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular case with you and make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 today for a consultation about your alleged offense.


Implied Consent for Blood Testing in Pennsylvania

Pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1547, every person who drives a vehicle in the state of Pennsylvania shall be deemed to have given consent for a chemical testing to an officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is DUI. This is called implied consent. The chemical testing may be performed by breath, blood or urine, and may test for alcohol or controlled substances.  When a person submits to blood testing, he or she will have blood drawn at a licensed facility. There are procedures and safeguards in place in order to protect individual’s rights during this process.


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Reliability of Blood Alcohol Content Tests

Blood tests are usually considered more accurate than breath or urine tests, and can test for a wider arrange of controlled substances. However, the results of a blood test may actually be easier to fight at trial. Reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Foreign substances are more likely to affect a blood sample or be present in a blood sample;
  • The blood test was taken outside of the permissible two-hour window;
  • The individual who took the blood sample may not have been qualified under the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines;
  • The chain of custody for a blood sample may be misplaced or lost; and
  • There is a higher risk of contamination as several people may have handled the blood sample.

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Pennsylvania DUI Drug Blood Testing

An individual may be arrested for DUI even if little or no alcohol is involved. If an individual submits to a breath test and blows under .08%, a law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe impairment exists may still request a blood sample to test for drug impairment. The blood sample will be sent to a lab to test for the presence of any of the following controlled substances:

  • Cannabis / Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Prescription Medications
  • Psychedelic Drugs
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates / Opium
  • Pain pills

Although blood tests are typically accurate in determining whether controlled substances or metabolites are present in an individual’s blood, the tests cannot show when the individual consumed the controlled substances. Therefore, evidence of drugs may still be found in a person’s blood long after they are no longer under the influence of the drugs.

For example, if an individual smoked marijuana one week prior to being stopped for DUI, and subsequently submits to a blood test, marijuana metabolites would likely still be present in any blood sample taken. Under the law, an individual cannot have any form of a controlled substance in his or her system when operating a motor vehicle. Therefore, that individual can be arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence – controlled substance related.


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Penalties for Blood Test Refusal in Pennsylvania

An individual who refuses to submit to a blood test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or controlled substance impairment faces the most severe penalties for DUI offenses.

A first offense DUI conviction involving a refusal to submit to chemical testing is a misdemeanor and, if convicted, an individual faces the following mandatory sentence:

  • 72 hours to 6 months incarceration;
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 and $5,000;
  • 12 months driver’s license suspension;
  • Successful completion of an approved alcohol highway safety course; and
  • Successful completion of alcohol or drug treatment.

A second or subsequent DUI involving a refusal of chemical testing is a misdemeanor of the first degree and, if convicted, an individual faces the following mandatory sentence:

  • 90 days to 5 years incarceration;
  • Fines ranging from $1,500 and $10,000;
  • 18 months driver’s license suspension;
  • Ignition interlock device installation for one year;
  • Successful completion of an approved alcohol highway safety course; and
  • Successful completion of alcohol or drug treatment.

An individual who refuses to submit to chemical testing also faces severe license suspension consequences. In addition to the above license suspension, a refusal to submit to a blood test carries an additional one year (possibly 18 months) driver’s license suspension.


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Skinner Law Firm | DUI Blood Testing Lawyer in Chester and Delaware County

Contact our office at (610) 436-1410 today for a consultation about your DUI blood test in Chester County, Delaware County or any of the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. Michael J. Skinner is an experienced West Chester DUI attorney and will make every effort to fight your case or find the most desirable outcome for your pending case.

Michael Skinner
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