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Challenging a Blood Test or Urine Test in Ohio OVI / DUI Cases

Ohio OVI attorney Brian Joslyn explains challenging a blood test or urine test in Ohio OVI / DUI cases. If you or a loved one has been arrested for OVI, contact Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 today for a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.

Another form of test that they might ask for you to take, especially if they don’t believe that it’s alcohol-related, is a urine test, or a blood test. Urines tests are a little bit different because they can test for a number of other substances other than just alcohol. And in the state of Ohio, depending on certain substances you may have in your body, you can only have up to a certain amount before you are considered impaired “per se”. which, if you take a urine test, you usually don’t get the results there right on the spot, but if you’re over the legal limit for an array of controlled substances, you can be found potentially guilty of an OVI in the same way as if you were drinking. Now, blood tests are a little bit more rare and they’re usually only used in crash cases. Generally speaking, i only see blood tests in the event that there was some tragic car accident or where there were people that were seriously injured, or the individual, my client might have been passed out or incapacitated in some way, and they go and they get a search warrant to take someone’s blood at a hospital or at a scene. It happens in very limited and small circumstances, but when they do that, you obviously didn’t have a choice because you were incapacitated and they have a search warrant to get it. For those cases, we’re looking for the timing of when they took the test in relation to when this stop occurred or maybe if it was a crash, when the crash occurred. Because time can mean everything in terms of a urine result or a blood result. And in Ohio we actually have a 3-hour rule for alcohol and if you’re over that 3-hour mark, you stand great chance, legally, of having a test thrown out. The same applies to urine and blood. There’s timing for these because your body metabolizes certain substances in different time frames and it could be the difference between having a high result or just being below the legal limit for some substances. Whether you’re having a urine analysis or whether it’s a blood analysis, there are certain procedures and protocols that have to be handled and there are statutes that specifically designate how this material is supposed to be handled. And specifically, there has to be a chain of custody. And it’s often that we’re also looking into chain of custody issues when determining whether the blood or the urine that they have, is admissible evidence, based on their ability to keep a proper chain of custody. A common issue with a chain of custody is that potentially a vile wasn’t appropriately labeled, signed, stored for a longer period of time with refrigeration. Something that would taint or destory it, sometimes the way that the blood was drawn. Certain substances, alcohol swabs, bactine, might be used to sterilize a skin surface before the use of the needle which can skew the result of a potential blood test. But also in blood tests what we’re looking for is if there was sufficient probable cause for them to even get a search warrant for your blood. And really those cases come down to a heavy-handed analysis and defense of the search warrant application.

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