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Chemical Testing After an Accident

DUI Defense Lawyer Serving the Phoenix Area

After an accident that officers believe was caused by drunk or drugged driving, you may be subject to one or more chemical tests. The police officer administers these tests in order to try to prove a suspect was intoxicated while driving. You should not assume your conviction is assured because of a chemical test result. Chemical test results are often inaccurate, and sometimes there are ways to fight them. Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak is an experienced former prosecutor who understands how to challenge the results of chemical testing after an accident when appropriate.

Types of Chemical Testing After an Accident

If you’re arrested for a suspected DUI in connection with an accident, you will be given a chemical test. There are three types of chemical tests: breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Preliminary breath tests are usually taken at the scene of the accident using a handheld device. Where you have a BAC more than .08%, that is enough probable cause to be arrested for a DUI. Even if this is enough to be arrested, another chemical test will need to be taken for purposes of a criminal or civil proceeding. A second breath test, one considered to be more accurate, can be administered to decide whether you’re over the legal limit. There are many grounds upon which a defendant can challenge the breath test result, including the existence of certain medical conditions and inadequate law enforcement training in use of a preliminary breath test.

After being arrested for a DUI that resulted in an accident, you could also be given a blood test. Blood tests are more often given where police officers think you’re under the influence of drugs. They are more accurate than breath tests, but there are various issues with blood tests that can form a basis for challenging them, such as expiration of a blood kit, improper chemical proportions, chain of custody issues, improper storage of the blood sample, or a failure to follow proper protocols.

Urine testing provides an estimate of the amount of the amount of alcohol or drugs in your blood based on average presence in the urine. Usually these tests are used to determine whether you’re under the influence of drugs. However, urine testing is considered unreliable, and can be challenged on the grounds of lab error, that the estimate is insufficiently probative, or timing of urination in connection with the arrest.

Motion to Suppress

After an accident, it’s likely that the police will want to conduct a chemical test to determine whether you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a chemical test was conducted in violation of your constitutional rights, you may be able to bring a motion to suppress it as evidence. However, this area of law is complicated.

Blood draws are considered searches under the Fourth Amendment. It is possible for police to obtain a warrant in order to get a blood sample from you after an accident if they can show probable cause. Alternatively, if you consent to providing a blood sample either implicitly or expressly, the police can take a blood sample that can be used as evidence in a criminal case. The third option is that the police can get a blood sample pursuant to the medical blood draw exception to the warrant requirement. Under this rule, where an officer has probable cause to believe you’ve violated Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1381 and blood, urine, or another bodily substance has been taken for any reason, a portion of the sample sufficient for analysis is to be given to the police officer if requested for law enforcement reasons. However, this exception won’t apply if you clearly and expressly and unambiguously exercise your constitutional right to refuse medical treatment. The burden will be on the prosecuting attorney to establish that this exception to the warrant requirement applies to your situation.

Consult a Seasoned DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix

If you’re worried about chemical testing after an accident, a dedicated DUI defense lawyer can assess your circumstances and legal options. Mr. Novak represents defendants charged with accident DUIs and other crimes in the Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and throughout Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.

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I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
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James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
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Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.