Breath, Urine, and Blood Tests for DUI in Connecticut
In Connecticut, after you are arrested for driving under the influence, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration “BAC.” The chemical BAC test will likely be the most significant piece of evidence against you in your DUI case.
The type of test will be chosen and determined by the arresting police officer. Acceptable forms of chemical testing in Connecticut include blood, breath, and urine testing. If the officer selects a blood test, you have the right to refuse the test and the officer is required to offer you either a breath or urine test. However, if the officer selects a breath or urine test, and you refuse to submit to the test, another test will not be offered.
If you elect to submit to the test, you will generally be required to provide two samples at least 10 minutes apart. In, Connecticut, the legal limit for DUI is .08%. If your test results reveal an elevated blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, then you are at risk for the following:
- Jail time
- Community Service
- Required Substance Abuse Treatment
- License Suspension
- Ignition Interlock Device “IID” Requirement
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Breath testing or breathalyzers are the most common type of chemical tests for DUI in Connecticut. They are generally viewed as the least invasive type of chemical testing for blood alcohol concentration. If a police officer arrests you for DUI and suspects you have been drinking, he or she will likely request that you submit to a breath test.
All police departments have breathalyzers. In Connecticut, the police use the Drager Alcotest 9510 machine. Some departments still also maintain an Intoxilyzer 5000. After your breath test, the machine will generate a receipt or slip which will indicate your blood alcohol concentration for each test. Both you and the police officer will know your BAC, as reported by the machine, immediately.
In some and certain instances, police officers will opt for urine testing as opposed to breath testing. Since breathalyzers can only detect alcohol, the police will generally select a urine test if they suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or some substance other than alcohol. Some individuals may be incapable of taking a breath test due to a medical condition such as asthma. In some other situations, the breath machine may be broken or occupied by another suspect. In these situations, the police may opt for a urine test.
Urine tests are widely considered by the scientific community to be the least reliable type of chemical test to detect either alcohol or drugs. When the officer selects a urine test, proper procedures must be followed to ensure compliance with urine testing protocols. Neither you, nor the police officer, will learn of test results that day.
The police officer will submit the samples to the State of Connecticut Toxicology Laboratory. A technician at the state lab will then run two tests on the samples: one for ethanol or alcohol level and one for the presence of drugs. Once the tests are complete, the state lab will mail both you and the police officer a copy of the results. It can often take several months for the lab to complete these tests and notify the parties.
Blood testing is generally viewed in the scientific community as the most reliable type of testing for alcohol and drugs in DUI cases. Although Connecticut’s DUI law allows for discretionary blood testing in DUI cases, police officers will hardly ever select a blood test instead of a breath or urine test. This is for a number of reasons.
Blood testing is generally viewed as the most invasive type of chemical testing. For this reason, Connecticut’s DUI law affords you the right to refuse, without consequence, a blood test requested by a police officer. If you refuse a blood test, the police officer is then required to offer you either a breath or urine test. Also, most police departments are not set up for, and do not have the proper licensed medical personnel, to administer blood testing.
Generally, the only situation where you will encounter blood testing for DUI is when your DUI processing takes place at a hospital as opposed to the police department. If you are involved in an accident or suffering from a medical condition, you may be transported to a hospital as opposed to the police department.
Challenging BAC Tests
At The Sills Law Firm, LLC, our Connecticut DUI Defense Lawyers will challenge the admissibility and reliable of your chemical BAC tests.
An attorney can challenge the admissibility of your DUI chemical tests in Connecticut for the following procedural violations:
- You were not afforded a reasonable opportunity to contact an attorney prior to submitting to the test
- The police officer did not provide you with a copy of the test results in a timely fashion
- The police officer was not properly certified to administer the breathalyzer
- The breath machine was not approved by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
- The testing device was not properly checked for accuracy prior to your BAC test
- The test was not performed in according with Connecticut’s Regulations on Chemical Alcohol Testing
- A 2nd chemical test of the same type, or for reasonable cause, of a different type to detect drugs than or in addition to alcohol, was not performed at least 10 minutes after the first test
- Evidence is not presented that your chemical test commenced within two hours of your operation of a motor vehicle
If our attorneys are able to convince the Judge that one or more of the above violations occurred, then the Judge may rule that your breath tests are inadmissible and cannot be considered as evidence against you.
Even if your chemical tests are deemed to be admissible, our attorneys may still challenge the reliability of your tests. We have successfully challenged the reliability of chemical BAC tests based on the following, among other, reasons:
- Expert testimony from a toxicologist
- Retrograde extrapolation estimating your BAC at the time you were driving as opposed to the time you were tested
- Rising blood alcohol concentration
- An abnormal rate of declining blood alcohol concentration between the two tests
- Necessary BAC conversions and the margin of error related to breath testing devices
- Certain types of medical conditions that interfere with and alter chemical testing
- Certain types of medications that interfere with an alter BAC testing
- Problems with the machine that you were tested on
Defending the Accused Against DUI Charges
If you are facing jail time, fines, license suspensions, and other consequences as a result of a chemical BAC test after being arrested for DUI, our Connecticut DUI lawyers at The Sills Law Firm, LLC can help. We have in-depth knowledge and experience in defending clients against all types of DUI charges including those involving chemical tests and elevated blood alcohol concentrations. We will put together a detailed, comprehensive, and effective strategy to challenge the admissibility and/or the reliability of your BAC tests. Our goal is to have the BAC tests thrown out, suppressed, or significantly discredited.
CONTACT US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW WE CAN CHALLENGE YOUR BAC TESTS.