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Beating a DUI With a Blood-Split Motion

By San Diego Attorney on May 14, 2021

When an officer believes a suspect has committed a DUI, the officer can have the suspect perform several tests: a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or chemical test. Most people are aware that these are standard procedure, but defendants in DUI cases should also know that they can request their own independent tests. Referred to as a “blood split motion,” this can be a powerful tool in avoiding the full penalties of a DUI charge.

When Can I Request a Blood-Split Motion?

During a traffic stop, it is standard procedure for the police officer to ask the suspect to take a field sobriety test. While the officer can let the suspect leave or charge them with a DUI based on these test results, the officer can also require a breathalyzer test to measure the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Anyone who operates a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can automatically be charged with a DUI — but this is assuming that the test was done properly. It is possible for officers to mishandle the device and perform the test incorrectly, resulting in a false positive or an inconclusive test result.

The most accurate test for BAC is a blood test, which must be performed by a trained and certified lab. Drivers can request a blood test of their own free will or the police can ask for one at a traffic stop. Drivers do have the right to refuse this chemical test, but that will lead to an automatic driver’s license suspension by the DMV, as they will assume that you are trying to hide a DUI. Blood tests may also be the only way to test for a DUI with drugs.

When labs perform blood tests, they are required to take two samples. One sample will be used for the test, and the other will be placed in storage. If, after the police have the first sample tested, you are still being charged with a DUI, your attorney can file a blood-split motion to have the extra sample tested by an independent lab.

Why Would I Request a Blood-Split Motion?

Just like field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, lab tests can show false positives. Lab samples can become tainted, workers can make mistakes, and results can be inconclusive. If there appears to be an error or you disagree with the results, you should speak to your attorney about filing a blood-split motion to have your blood tested by a third party. An independent test may be able to prove that you are innocent or that your BAC level was lower than the prosecution is arguing.

Blood-split motions are just one way to fight against a DUI, and a skilled San Diego criminal defense lawyer can outline several defense strategies on your behalf. At jD LAW, our lead trial attorney is a board-certified Criminal Law Specialist who has handled hundreds of DUI cases in San Diego and North County. If you or someone you love has been arrested for a DUI, do not hesitate to call us at (760) 630-2000 to get a free case evaluation.

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James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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If you feel uncomfortable with an in-person meeting due to the recent surge in COVID-19, our office is offering remote appointments via phone and Zoom. Please call or email us to set up your appointment.

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