Intoxicated driving in Kansas is a serious criminal charge. During a DUI investigation, an officer may request a blood sample. This is especially true when a suspect refuses a breathalyzer test; was involved in an injury accident; or the arresting officer believes the suspect is impaired by drugs. If you do not agree to it, a warrant may be issued, and at that time, a blood sample will be taken with or without your consent. A lot of confusion surrounds what your rights and obligations are with respect to drunk driving and blood tests. To do one thing and not the other can have a significant impact on criminal charges filed against you or driver's license penalties imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
At McLane Law Firm, our DUI defense attorney in Overland Park wants to ensure you, as our client, are informed and understand both your rights and the consequences that flow from missteps taken when encountering the police during a DUI investigation. Contact us today at 913-322-4716 to schedule a free 10-minute consultation.
What are DUI Blood Tests?
DUI blood tests are chemical tests commonly used in Kansas by the police to determine or verify whether and to what extent an individual unlawfully has alcohol or drugs in their system. It is used most often in two circumstances:
- The alleged drunk driver has refused to perform a breath test and an injury accident is involved;
- The police believe the driver might be under the influence of drugs, which can include prescription medication or any type of illicit drug.
Blood tests produce more accurate results than the other two chemical tests associated with intoxicated driving cases: breath tests and urine tests. A blood test is also much more intrusive. With breath tests, you simply blow into the testing machine. With urine tests, you urinate into a cup. With blood tests, however, a qualified medical professional must draw blood to collect a test sample.
Can I Refuse a Blood Test in Kansas?
The simple answer is yes. Keep in mind, however, that a refusal in Kansas can have significant consequences. The same is true even if you are never convicted of DUI in Kansas because you will still be hit with administrative penalties, i.e one-year suspension followed by at least two-years of the ignition interlock.
The problem is this: implied consent laws.
When you obtain a driver's license and drive anywhere in the United States, you have implicitly implied to agree to obey the laws of each state, and each state has its own version of implied consent laws. Basically, by agreeing to obey the rules of the road, you also implicitly agree to chemical tests.
Thus, if you are suspected of drunk driving and are asked to consent to a breath or blood test but refuse, there are subsequent administrative penalties placed on you. These penalties include license suspension and the required interlock in your vehicle.
If you do refuse to give a blood sample (or refuse a breath sample), the police can quickly obtain a warrant to collect a sample. In the end, if you refuse, you will likely still have to give a blood sample if conditions are met. One caveat: if you have no prior DUI offenses and there was not an injury accident involved, then it is unlikely the officer will pursue a warrant.
When Are DUI Blood Tests Allowed in Kansas?
Police must have probable cause that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs before they can administer a blood test. Probable cause is a subjective belief the officer develops through his interaction with the driver. Impairment "clues" like slurred speech, failure of sobriety tests, and the admission of consumption of alcohol or drugs all contribute to a finding of probable cause to arrest.
If probable cause exists, a blood test can only be administered in most states if one of the following occurs:
- The driver signs a waiver.
- The driver consents.
- The police officer obtains a search warrant authorizing the blood test.
- Exigent circumstances exist and qualify as an exception to the search warrant requirement, i.e. injury accident where the driver refuses to consent.
DUI Blood Tests in Kansas Can Be Unreliable
Blood tests provide better results than breath tests. Not only can a blood test determine a more accurate blood alcohol content (BAC) level, but it can also identify specific drugs and the amount of those drugs in your system. The only reason breath testing is the default method of collection is due to ease of collection and costs. The intoxilyzer machine is far easier to use and maintain then to transport a suspect to the hospital, find an available technician or nurse, stick a needle in the suspect's arm, and then mail the sample or submit the sample to the local laboratory for testing. The suspect usually gets charged a nice $400 fee anytime a sample is sent to the lab for testing. No fees are assessed for a simple breath test.
That said, even if they are more accurate, they can still be unreliable when certain issues are present.
Common situations that could lead to the suppression of a blood test result in Kansas include:
- Too long of a waiting period between arrest and administration of the blood test.
- Contamination of the blood sample
- Improper preservation or storage
- Improper transportation of the sample
- A gap in the sample's chain of custody
- Drawing of the blood sample by an unqualified person
In addition, the technology and machines used to analyze the blood samples could have problems that make the results unreliable. The equipment requires routine maintenance to ensure reliability.
Seasoned DUI defense attorneys in Overland Park and Olathe who have proper training, knowledge, and skill in these types of cases will be able to identify unreliable blood test results. A motion to suppress or exclude the results can be timely filed and strategically used in your defense.
How DUI Defense Lawyers Can Challenge Blood Tests
DUI blood tests can be excluded from evidence under certain circumstances. A defense lawyer should identify when those circumstances are present and take immediate action to exclude the evidence.
As noted above, a court can exclude blood test results when conditions make the results unreliable (e.g., mishandling of the sample). The court may also suppress blood test results when a defense lawyer can prove there was:
- Prosecutorial misconduct
- Police misconduct
- Issuance or enforcement of an invalid warrant
- Violation of your constitutional rights
When blood tests are admitted into evidence, the lawyer still has options. For example, they can
- Retain an independent lab to perform additional blood testing
- Hire an expert to testify about any circumstances that could have produced inaccurate results
Finding the right DUI defense lawyer in Overland Park will be key to a successful outcome in your DUI case.
Contact a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney in Overland Park Today
At McLane Law Firm, our DUI defense attorney understands the complex nature of Kansas intoxicated driving laws, the technical and scientific aspects of blood tests, and how to strategically fight the allegations to get the best outcome in your unique case.
We want you to know that just because you are charged with a DUI offense, it does not mean you will automatically be found guilty. You may have a legitimate defense to some aspect of your case, and you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can identify any issues. Call our office today at 913-322-4716 or fill out an online form to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.