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Blood Tests in DUI Cases -Nevada

DUI Law in Nevada and Blood Tests

Many individuals arrested in Nevada for driving under the influence opt to take a DUI breath test instead of a blood test. It’s more common because the breath test is non-invasive and quick, and the test results are available immediately.

However, according to state law, if a suspect chooses (or is required) to take a blood test, they can get the blood sample tested independently from a qualifiedlaboratory of choice at their own cost. This is the reason that many DUI attorneys recommend a blood test instead of a DUI breath test.

In this post, Bourassa Law Group attorneys in Nevada discuss insights into the state law regarding DUI blood sample retesting. So, let’s get started.

DUI Blood Sample Retesting Law in Nevada

After an arrest, when a DUI suspect takes a DUI breath test in Nevada, the test results are available immediately.

However, when a suspect takes a DUI blood test, upon request, the law enforcement officer is required to provide reasonable opportunity to have a qualified person of the suspect’s choosing re-test the blood.

Law enforcement officers are not obliged to inform the suspect about this right at the time of arrest. Regardless, the driver has this right. It is important to note that the failure or inability to obtain such tests by the suspect results in only the results of the test by the officer being admitted.

Moreover, test results by the law enforcement’s lab may reflect more drugs or alcohol in the driver’s system than were actually present due to inadequate testing procedures. An independent lab might come to a different conclusion, and a seasoned attorney can use these results to drop or reduce the defendant’s charges. If the case is not dismissed, the process will allow an opportunity to create reasonable doubt that can result in a not guilty verdict.

If the client desires, the attorneys at Bourassa Law Group in Nevada can make the required arrangements for blood retesting on the client’s behalf.

Does the Driver Have to Take a Blood Test After An Arrest?

A DUI suspect doesn’t have to take a blood test after an arrest unless the law enforcement officer reasonably suspects that the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other dangerous chemical. In the case of reasonable suspicion, the suspect may be required to take a blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance test. If an officer requests that a suspect submit to a test, and the suspect refuses, their license, permit, or privilege to drive will be revoked.

If the concentration of alcohol in the blood or breath of the suspect to be tested is in issue, a suspect may request a blood test, but if a breath test is available and they are later convicted, the suspect must pay for the cost of the test, and other associated costs.

It is important to note that a suspect is not given a choice in case of being asked to undertake a breath test on a handheld device prior to being placed under arrest. A preliminary breath test is a tool that allows the police officer to decide whether to arrest a suspect. Hence, a preliminary screening cannot be used as evidence against the suspect in court.

However, after the arrest, a DUI test is no longer preliminary. Instead, it is evidentiary, which means it can be used as evidence against the suspect in court.

If a breath test is reasonably available at the time of the evidentiary test, a suspect may refuse a blood test, or request a blood test knowing that if they are convicted, they will have to pay the costs associated.

Should a Suspect Choose a DUI Blood Test or a Breath Test?

When offered a choice between a DUI blood test or a breath test, many DUI defense attorneys recommend choosing a blood test as it allows the suspect to get the blood sample tested independently. However, some attorneys may also recommend selecting a breath test, as the results of a breath test are available immediately. Moreover, with breath test results, defense attorneys have more variables that they can challenge.

At the end of the day, the suspect must decide between the convenience of a breath test vs. the ability to get a blood sample tested independently with greater accuracy.

Note that the suspect will be required to take a urine and/or blood test in the case of suspected drug use.

If the suspect is unconscious at the time of the arrest and the officer is unable to complete the breath test, law enforcement officials may proceed to draw a blood sample.

A suspect is exempt from taking a blood test if they have hemophilia or a heart condition requiring the use of anticoagulant medications.

Blood Testing Payment – Who Pays for the DUI Blood Test?

If a breath test is reasonably available, and the suspect chooses a DUI blood test then is convicted of a DUI based on the blood test result, they are required to pay for the cost of the blood test. They must pay the total testing cost, including the fees and expenses of witnesses whose testimony is necessary because of the use of the blood test.

The expenses of witnesses in such cases are assessed at a rate of at least:

  • $50 for travel to and from the place of the proceeding; and
  • $100 per hour for giving or waiting to give testimony.

Hence cost is a factor to consider when choosing a DUI blood test. The convicted person will also be required to pay for the cost of independent retesting of the blood sample if that option is chosen.

Regardless of the expenses associated with blood tests, DUI defense attorneys recommend exercising the right to have the blood sample independently tested.

Law enforcement lab results can be inaccurate due to various reasons, which include:

  • Collection or testing of the blood sample by inadequately trained personnel,
  • Contamination of the blood sample after collection,
  • Mislabeling, switching, or intermingling of the samples,
  • Fermentation of the blood sample, which can cause alcohol production in the sample,
  • Insufficient blood volume in the vial,
  • Inappropriate storage of the sample, or
  • Any other compliance failure required by the state for blood testing equipment calibration.

If you or your loved one has been charged with a DUI in Nevada, seek legal assistance today.

Whether you decide to take a DUI breath test or blood test, our expert DUI defense lawyers will assist you at each step and dismiss your case or reduce the charge.

To schedule a consultation with our legal experts, call us today or complete the form and let our experienced lawyers at Bourassa Law Group get back to you.

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