Challenging breath or blood tests in DUI case in Missouri

Drunk driving is considered a serious offense in Missouri which comes with significant penalties. If you are facing drunk driving charges in Missouri and want to challenge the charges, you should mount a viable defense that will let you off the hook. With a viable defense strategy, you can successfully have the charges reduced, dropped and retain your driving privileges. One of the most viable defenses to mount in a DUI case in Missouri is challenging the accuracy of breath and/or blood tests.

The following are potential ways to challenge breath and/or blood tests in Missouri:

(i) 1.Improper storage of blood sample that resulted in errors

Improper storage of blood samples and delays in testing could result in errors. Some components of blood can cause fermentation and cause the alcohol level in a sample to rise. Therefore, the results could be inaccurate in a situation where blood samples are drawn from a suspect and testing is done much later. A person’s BAC could be low at the time of drawing blood but increase significantly if testing is done after some time. If the defense can prove improper storage and delays in court, the results obtained from the tests cannot be used as evidence against the defendant.

(ii) 2.Blood sample mix-up due to labeling

Sample mix-up is a possibility in DUI cases in Missouri due to improper labeling or handling. Therefore, it’s possible that your sample was not labeled correctly, and that may have led to false positives. If the defense can establish this possibility beyond a reasonable doubt, such evidence will be excluded from the case.

(iii) 3.The person who took the breath/blood test was unqualified

Missouri law requires a qualified person to administer a breathalyzer or draw blood samples for testing. Incriminating results obtained from breathalyzer tests administered by an officer who is not properly trained or unqualified to carry out breath tests cannot be used as evidence in court. Besides, if blood samples were drawn by a person who is not a trained medical professional, the blood test results may be inadmissible in court.

(iv) 4.Tampering with blood samples

There is a specified chain of custody that should be in charge of blood samples at any given time so as to prevent tampering. In circumstances where the chain of custody was not adhered to, the sample may be considered tampered with, and should not be used as evidence against the accused.

(v) 5.Testing errors

Sometimes, the instruments or equipment used for testing may not be properly maintained. For instance, a breathalyzer should be calibrated and maintained from time to time; it must be of a model recognized by the State of Missouri as an approved testing device, and it must be in a proper working condition. The defense can establish whether or not the equipment used in testing meets the required standards. If not, there could be a possibility that the BAC report was elevated and therefore unreliable. False positives can also be obtained when improper amounts of chemical solutions are used in testing. The defense can make a follow up of the chemical solution used to establish whether or not the right amounts were used.

Moreover, there are certain factors that can lead to breath test errors. For instance, factors such as dietary changes, pre-existing medical conditions, non-alcoholic item usage can cause a person’s chemical composition to change during the test. Specific examples of factors that can produce false positives include ketogenic diet, acid reflux, empty stomach, use of mouthwash, diabetes, and hyperglycemia, body temperature, and asthma medicines. If the defense can prove any of these factors, the court can consider excluding the breath test results as evidence.

These are the most viable defenses a person accused of DUI in Missouri can mount in court. However, mounting these DUI defenses in Missouri may require the expertise of an experienced defense attorney.

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