Blood Tests in Montgomery County DUID Cases

For those accused of driving while under the influence of drugs in Maryland, a blood test will likely be administered. Below, a Montgomery County DUI Drug lawyer discusses this test and what you should know. For more information regarding your case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Administration of Blood Tests

Usually blood tests will be conducted by a phlebotomist who is trained and certified. That phlebotomist may come to the police station, or the procedure may be done in a hospital, depending on the circumstances and which agency is involved.

How Long Do Results Take?

Regarding the turnaround time for test results, the wait will also vary between jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions are extremely quick, which, in this context, means that results can be processed within a month. Other jurisdictions can take several months to completely process the results of a drug test.

Types of Substances a Blood Test Can Detect

Blood tests pick up all sorts of different medication, whether CDS or prescribed medication. Each set of blood tests is going to be somewhat different, but it’s safe to say that all of them are thorough enough to pick up any kind of narcotic or prescribed medication.

Accuracy of Blood Tests

There are a lot of things that go into a drug test—more than just the gas chromatography of the blood. For example, a lot of it comes down to chain of custody and proving that the blood that was tested was actually the blood that was drawn. Police agencies do have procedures in place to make that an easier thing for the prosecutor to prove, but there’s always somewhere to challenge the chain of custody or to challenge a chemical analysis.

Another thing that can create issues with a blood test is the type of preservative that was used and what kind of conditions the sample was subject to. For example, if an officer takes blood and then puts it in the back of his police car on a sunny, hot day and leaves it  there for a while, that really is going to affect the validity of that blood sample.

Also, even though gas chromatography is a fairly reliable technique, there are lots of opportunities for human error to be introduced into the sample testing process. This is the biggest factor that causes errors in chemical analysis of blood samples—human error.

Procedural Differences Between An Alcohol DUI and A DUID

When drug vs. alcohol DUIs are concerned, there’s not going to be any difference in the process up to the point of arrest. It’s at the point of arrest where some of the techniques used to gather evidence are going to be different in drug cases—specifically, the DRE (or “drug recognition evaluator”).

In an alcohol DUI case, there’s not going to be DRE interview. In a drug case, very frequently there will be that DRE interview, which involves questioning and testing conducted by a professional who is trained and certified to do so. It also involves some physiological testing— pulse rate, temperature, muscle tone, and certain other physiological markers.

Differences in Testing

Aside from the DRE interview, the difference is going to come down to whether a breath test versus blood test is conducted and why. There are some rare DUI alcohol cases in which blood tests are administered. However, as a general rule in Maryland, most DUI tests for alcohol are going to  involve a breath test, and pretty much all chemical tests for drugs are going to be done by a blood test.

In terms of standard approach in court, there’s really no difference at all between drug and alcohol DUIs. The state still needs to prove all elements of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. They follow the rules of evidence, but some of the ways that they go about proving impairment can vary from case to case.