While a blood sample is generally much stronger than a breath sample in determining a person’s BAC level, a blood draw is more open to attack. Unlike a breathalyzer a human being, with the assistance of a syringe, removes the sample from a suspect’s vein. This fact alone makes each blood draw unique because no two people are alike and so each test will be a little different. Prior to actually injecting a person to remove a blood sample it’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of the test is to determine a person’s BAC level. Since the level of alcohol within a person’s blood is the purpose of the test, the person (i.e. administrator) conducting the test can’t use any substances that could negatively affect the reliability of the results.
In a normal blood draw the administrator cleans the injection area with an alcohol based solution. While some of the alcohol will more than likely enter a person’s body that factor is irrelevant. In these situations a doctor ordered the blood tests not to determine the alcohol within a person’s system but for some other medical purpose. A DUI blood draw, however, is solely focused on blood alcohol content and so an alcohol based solution which likely introduces additional alcohol into a person’s blood stream could ultimately taint the results. Because of this strong possibility all DUI blood draws must utilize a non-alcohol based solution such as Povidone iodine or Betadine.
There are two primary methods for withdrawing blood: venipuncture and vacutiner. Venipuncture involves cleaning the selected site and withdrawing the blood through a syringe. The Vacutiner system involves a “cradle” with a syringe at the top used to extract the blood into it. The Vacutiner is more often used now then the venipuncture system. The venipuncture system comes usually in a kit with prepackaged non-alcoholic cleansing swabs which later converts into a box for storage and shipment purposes.
Whatever system is used to withdraw blood its important that the defense attorney focuses on site cleansing and evidence that a non-alcoholic solution was used to withdraw the blood. The qualifications of the test administrator are also important especially if the person is not a doctor, a nurse, or a licensed phlebotomist. If the person has just been trained to withdraw blood without any formal qualification there is a much greater chance that the defense attorney can challenge the reliability of the results due to a lack of training and proper test procedures. The bottom line is that when it comes to blood evidence nothing is closed from attack. Your success depends on it.