Under Wisconsin’s operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. To encourage individuals to submit to a test that measures their BAC, the state has enacted an “Implied Consent” law that comes with serious administrative penalties should a person who is suspected of drunk driving decline to comply with the officer’s request for a breathalyzer or blood test. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more common across the United States for law enforcement agents to compel individuals to provide a sample for a blood test—even against their wishes.
If you were charged with OWI or prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) after taking a blood test, the first thing your attorney will do is investigate its legality. There have been cases where law enforcement agents have obtained a warrant for a blood sample that wasn’t entirely valid or even failed to get a warrant when one was required. If this applies to your situation, your BAC reading may be dismissed and your charges could be dropped.
When performed, stored, or transported improperly, blood test results can be flawed; that’s why the police and medical personnel are required to follow stringent guidelines during the entire blood testing process.
To start, site of the blood draw must be cleaned thoroughly with alcohol-free sanitizer (solutions containing alcohol can lead to an inflated reading). Once the blood sample has been drawn, the proper mixture of preservatives and anticoagulants must be added to maintain its integrity. If the sample is not preserved properly, the blood can begin breaking down—and thus, “fermenting.” The vial must also be kept at the appropriate temperature to prevent the fermentation process.
To ensure that every step is followed, the sample’s chain of command must be well documented. If any link in this chain is missing, or a person who handled the sample does not show up to testify in court, an attorney may be able to successfully challenge the reading.
Understanding the science behind the blood test requires training and experience. Fortunately, the attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates are dedicated to OWI defense, giving them insight into the potential problems with this test. They have helped countless Wisconsin residents successfully fight their blood reading in an effort to minimize the impact a drunk-driving charge had on their lives.
For more information on contesting your blood test reading, complete our online form now to schedule a case analysis.