Last week we looked at Minnesota DWI Breath testing and this week in Part 2 we will review another type of Minnesota DWI chemical testing which is blood testing. It is becoming more common for a blood test to be requested in a Minnesota DWI case and failure of a suspected intoxicated driver to comply with the blood test request may result in he or she being charged with a more serious crime. Breath testing still seems to be the most commonly used DWI test for arrested intoxicated drivers in Minnesota and in most other states. There are certain circumstances, however, in which a police officer may request a blood sample for testing an individual’s blood alcohol content level over a breath sample.
Requirements for Blood Testing
At the request of the police officer, a blood test can be administered but only by a qualified individual. If you’re suspected of driving while impaired, you may be taken to a hospital or any other medical facility where an officer may request a blood test instead of a breath or urine test to measure your blood alcohol concentration. Under these circumstances, you will first be read what’s called the implied consent advisory and will then be asked if you would like to speak with an attorney prior to agreeing to submit to a test.
In Minnesota, if the police officer has probable cause to believe you were involved in a criminal vehicular operation accident, it’s not a requirement that you actually consent to have blood drawn from your system for blood alcohol content testing, nor do you need to be aware that blood is being taken from you, and it can be used against you in court for your DWI or criminal vehicular operation case.
Testing Procedures in Minnesota
Generally, in Minnesota, when you’re taken to the police station after being pulled over for driving under the influence, you’ll be asked to take a breath test on a Datamaster or Intoxilyzer 5000EN machine. If you refuse to submit to breath testing or fail to provide an adequate breath sample necessary to obtain a BAC reading to be used for evidence in court, you could be charged with the gross misdemeanor offense of refusal to submit to chemical testing. However, with recent breath test litigation in Minnesota, the state’s use of blood and urine tests for DWI cases has become much more prevalent.
How Reliable Is Blood Testing in Minnesota?
Although more precise results can be obtained from blood testing than breath testing, blood analysis is not always perfectly accurate. There are potential sources of error that can cause a blood test result to be erroneous.
The following errors may be present during the process of DWI blood testing in Minnesota:
Mislabeling of blood – Your blood sample is mislabeled, making it appear to be yours but it was actually drawn from somebody else.
Chain of custody issues – This error occurs when a blood sample was drawn from you but the sample disappears for a while before it gets into the hands of laboratory personnel for analysis.
Compromised blood sample – There are factors that can compromise a blood sample which may cause the blood analysis to register erroneous results, such as exposure to heat, the blood being captured in an inappropriate lab tube, contamination by outside sources or being stored in a poorly sealed tube so that microbes may get into the blood sample.
Flawed test equipment – Even if the blood sample is in a perfect condition for analysis, flawed test equipment can cause erroneous results. In an automated blood testing environment which is usually used in Minnesota DWI cases, a machine basically does the work after it is set up by the technicians. A flawed or improperly functioning machine may erroneously interpret the results. It is important to note that this would be a rare defense and in most cases very hard to prove.
Technical errors – The result of the blood test can also be erroneous due to improper operation by the technician even if the test equipment is functioning perfectly. Such technical errors can lead to misleading blood test results. Again, such a defense is rare and the burden great.
Why you need an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney
If you’re arrested and charged with DWI in Minnesota, and your blood test result shows a BAC of 0.08 or higher, it’s important to note that there is a chance that your blood results are inaccurate. An experienced Minnesota DWI attorney will gather all the possible resources to investigate the factors that might have led to an erroneous reading of your blood test. Your DWI lawyer may discover a serious error upon investigating the blood testing procedures from the time the blood was drawn from your system, to storage of blood sample, to the completion of the DWI blood analysis in the lab.