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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Tests Used In Philadelphia DUI Drug Cases

In order to test those they believe to be under the influence of drugs, law enforcement officers in Philadelphia will often use blood draws to determine what drugs are in someone’s system. Below, a Philadelphia DUI drug lawyer discusses these tests and whether or not you have the right to refuse. For more call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

What Tests Are Used To Determine If Someone is Impaired By Drugs?

In Philadelphia, there are no breathalyzer tests that are used that can determine whether a person is under the influence of any substance other than alcohol. Breathalyzer tests are often given solely to check a person’s blood alcohol level when an officer suspects alcohol in the person’s system.

However, should an officer suspect after an initial stop and field sobriety test that a person is also under the influences of drugs, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs in a manner consistent with DUI, then the person will be subjected to a blood draw. Only a blood draw can be accurate in determining whether or not there are narcotics, illegal or legal substances in a person’s system.

A breathalyzer merely tests for alcohol in the system.

Administration of DUI Drug Tests

The Philadelphia police department, after making a stop for driving under the influence suspicion, will submit the person to either a blood and/or breathalyzer test. Should a person be submitted for a blood test, they are often taken to the nearest hospital where a registered nurse is there to inject a needle and take a sample of one’s blood so that they can be tested to determine what, if any, substances are in it.

As for a breathalyzer test, a breathalyzer test is often given at the police administration building in Center City Philadelphia. That is the main police headquarters also known as the round house where breathalyzers are often administered directly by a certified police officer who is there to administer the device and administer the test to individuals. That police officer is responsible for the calibration and the maintenance of such machines to maintain their accuracy.

Can You Refuse To Take These Tests in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, if you refuse to take a blood and/or a breathalyzer test, your O’Connell warnings are read to you first. These warnings are to advise the motorist that should they decide not to take a breathalyzer and/or a blood test that is recommended or requested by an officer, then those individuals will automatically lose their license privileges to operate a motor vehicle in Philadelphia and/or Pennsylvania for a period of one year.

Additionally, should the person be charged with driving under the influence, and they will more than likely still be charged, the fact that a person had rejected such a test is evidence in and of itself that the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and should not have been driving. Therefore under all circumstances, a person should submit to a breathalyzer and/or a blood test should an officer request it. There is no benefit left in the law for refusing to do either tests.

Accuracy of Philadelphia DUI Drug Tests

In Philadelphia specifically, blood tests when checking for narcotics are very accurate in their determining of what is in the person’s system. When a blood draw is done, that item is then stored, filled and passed along to the lab in a proper fashion, allowing the results to be nearly perfect.

However, there have been cases where blood has been lost, mislabeled or other problems with blood results. That’s why it is imperative to get the advice of an experienced Philadelphia narcotics DUI lawyer in determining whether or not the blood results are proper and/or accurate.

An experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney can challenge whether the machines to give the breathalyzer have been maintained properly, have been calibrated properly, and that the results of such were accurate. Just a few years ago problems were determined to have occurred in nearly 2100 Philadelphia breathalyzer cases and as a result, nearly 2100 cases were withdrawn even after prior convictions.

What Are Some Ways Drug Tests Can Be Wrong?

Drug tests administered to individuals through blood draws can be wrong in certain fashions. A blood test where blood is mislabeled or the chain of custody is not protected, substances can taint the blood results and in those cases, blood results can be removed from a case and made inadmissible because they were tainted.

It is with the use of an experienced Philadelphia DUI narcotics lawyer that an individual can challenge the blood results to determine if any improprieties had occurred and whether or not the blood results can be used against the operator at a trial

As for breathalyzers, in many cases in the past, breathalyzer machines have been determined to be inaccurate, malfunctioning and/or not calibrated or maintained properly. In those type of cases, having experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer on your side who can check and keep updated records on such machines is only a benefit to you fighting your case. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney on your side, you can challenge a blood and/or a breathalyzer test to determine whether it was done properly or not.