Thanks to the seemingly endless number of law enforcement themed reality shows. we have on television sin the United States, most people are familiar with how a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation is conducted. If you are familiar with how a DUI stop is conducted, you probably also know that a motorist who is arrested pursuant to a DUI investigation is typically asked to submit to a chemical test upon arrival at the station or jail. Usually, that chemical test is a breath test; however, occasionally, a blood test is used instead. A Sarpy County DUI lawyer explains why a blood test might be necessary in case you are ever subjected to one.
The State of Nebraska, like most states, has an implied consent law located in Section 60-6, 197 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes which reads as follows:
“Any person who operates or has in his or her actual physical control a motor vehicle in this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the concentration of alcohol or the presence of drugs in such blood, breath, or urine.”
In essence, what the Nebraska implied consent law means is that if you operate a vehicle within the state, you have already given your consent to a blood, breath, or urine chemical test. Although you do retain the right to refuse to take the test, refusing to do so will come with its own penalties, including the loss of your driving privileges.
Why Is a Blood Test Used Instead of a Breath Test?
All three types of chemical tests – blood, breath, and urine – can screen for the presence of alcohol in a suspect’s system. Although a blood test is actually more accurate at testing for the presence of alcohol, it is also more invasive and more expensive. For those reasons, a breath test is the chemical test of choice in most DUI arrests. Why then, is a blood test ever used? There are two primary circumstances under which a blood test might be requested in lieu of a breath test. The first is when the suspect is unconscious, either because he/she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or because of an accident. If a suspect is unconscious, he/she is unable to perform the typical breath test. In addition, the suspect is going to be transported to a hospital anyway, given his/her medical condition, making it much easier, and less costly, to conduct a blood test. The second reason a blood test might be requested is to test for the presence of a controlled substance in the suspect’s system. A breath test cannot detect anything but alcohol in a subject’s system; however, a blood test can detect a wide array of substances.
The Legal Status of Blood Tests in DUI Arrests
It should be noted that the legalities of a blood draw in a DUI case have always been questionable. Opponents of the use of blood tests have long argued – and with some success – that because of the invasive nature of a blood draw a warrant should be required. All chemical tests are considered a “search;” however, the Nebraska implied consent law effectively does away with the requirement to obtain a warrant before conducting the “search.” Whether or not blood tests in DUI cases will continue to be allowed without a warrant, however, is questionable given recent decisions in the higher courts. For this reason, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Sarpy County DUI lawyer if you were arrested for DUI and a blood test was conducted as part of that arrest.
Contact a Sarpy County DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact an Sarpy County DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.