When a driver's sobriety is in dispute, it seems like chemical testing is the final word on the matter, but this is not the case. Blood, breath and urine tests certainly seem authoritative because they are backed by science, but these tests are far from perfect and mistakes are made frequently. It is entirely possible to challenge a urine test for DUI in Georgia from a legal stand point. A skilled Hall County DUI attorney has an arsenal of legal strategies to challenge urine test evidence. If you were administered a urine test after your DUI arrest, contact a Hall County DUI lawyer immediately.
When Do Police Use Urine Tests
When a driver is arrested, they will be obliged to give a sample of their blood, breath or urine to law enforcement to determine their impairment or lack thereof. Under the doctrine of implied consent, a driver has already consented to blood, breath and urine testing simply by operating a motor vehicle. Law enforcement is required to read an implied consent card to DUI suspects, which explains this provision and also allows suspects to seek out additional, independent testing by a different qualified individual. Law enforcement must accommodate this request if the driver chooses to do so.
Generally, police will opt for a urine test in lieu of a blood or breath tests if they believe the suspect was impaired by drugs rather than alcohol, although it is sometimes used to determine alcohol impairment as well. DUI Drugs in Hall County can result from an accusation of impairment by prescription or illegal drugs. Urine test are not as commonly requested as blood and breath tests, but are sometimes done in conjunction with them.
Urine testing is more reliable (although not foolproof) in the realm of drug testing, but it is not the most effective method of determining blood alcohol content. Between blood, breath and urine tests, urine testing has been shown to be the least accurate. In fact, a urine test can skew the perception of impairment and lead law enforcement to think the driver was more impaired than they actually were. Urine testing is universally accepted as the most unreliable means to determine a person's blood alcohol content. The amount of alcohol present in a defendant's urine only loosely correlates to the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream; the amount in their urine can be as much as 1.33 times greater than the amount in their blood, although this figure can vary widely depending on the person's metabolism, weight, height and the time since he or she consumed alcohol. Ultimately, misleading urine tests can show that a person was above the legal limit when his or her BAC may have been well below the legal limit.
False Positives in Urine Tests
Sometimes, if the police did not find any evidence of impairment in a breath test, but still believe the driver was impaired, they will resort to a urine test. However, certain legal prescription drugs can also yield a false positive in a urine test. These include:
- nonprescription nasal inhalers.
In addition, drugs can sometimes stay in a driver's system for weeks after use, such that a driver who was not impaired will test positive for a drug he or she took several days or weeks ago. For example, a urine sample may test positive for marijuana several days after use, when the user is no longer experiencing the effects in the slightest.
Challenging Urine Tests in Hall County, Georgia
With DUI Drugs on the rise and the popularity of urine tests increasing, Hall County DUI attorneys have begun to scrutinize the validity of urine tests and probe their procedures.
There are a number of ways to challenge a urine test. The DUI lawyer can argue that the procedures were not correctly followed, the urine sample was incorrectly handled, the sample was tampered with or mixed up with someone else's, two samples were needed but only one was collected, or samples were stored improperly and not kept at the correct temperature.
The easiest way to challenge a urine or blood test is to probe the sample's chain of custody. In order to submit a urine test as evidence, law enforcement must have meticulously kept track of the chain of custody of the sample as it changes hands between technicians and law enforcement. If at any single point the sample was unaccounted for, or its whereabouts were uncertain, it cannot be submitted as evidence in a DUI case against the suspect.
There are also general, technical problems with urine testing in DUI cases. Alcohol and other substances can take up to two hours before they are passed through urine, so depending on the timing of the urine test, it may return inflated results, or may show nothing at all.
Hall County DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Hall County, Georgia, this does not mean you will be found guilty. Do not be intimidated just because there is urine, blood or breath test evidence against you. These tests are faulty and the right Hall County DUI attorney can identify vulnerabilities in the state's case against you.
Before you consider pleading guilty, consider the steep consequences of having a DUI on your permanent record. A convicted DUI cannot be expunged from your record, it is forever. This is why it is incredibly important, if you have been charged, to waste no time in contacting a Hall County DUI lawyer to review your case and defend your rights. Certain aspects of DUI cases are time sensitive. Skilled legal counsel can determine the best strategy to implement in your case. Contact a Hall County DUI lawyer today online or call at 404-816-4440.