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Fresno Continues to Use Extremely Unreliable Method of BAC Testing

Posted by Terry A. Wapner | Jan 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

If you are stopped in Fresno or the surrounding areas for suspicion of DUI, you will likely be asked to participate in some type of test that is used to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content). There are three basic tests that are used to evaluate BAC:(1) breath test; (2) blood test; and (3) urine test.

In most situations, the officer will elect to administer the blood or breath test, but it is possible that you will be asked to provide a urine sample for the officer to test your blood for drugs and or alcohol. One reason urine samples are not ideal is because they are fairly invasive. However, the main problem with urine testing is that they are highly inaccurate.

California continues to permit urine testing by law enforcement even though it is obvious that this is most inaccurate method of testing and consistently produces misleading results. One reason for the inaccuracies is because the percent of alcohol in one's urine is not the same as in the person's blood.

It has been shown that the level of alcohol in urine is usually 1.33 times the actual BAC level. This means that in order to truly determine the blood alcohol level from a urine test, the number derived from the urine sample should be divided by 1.33.

The problem is that this number is only an average and will therefore not be a valid calculation for every individual. Not only is 1.33 an average, but it has been shown that the number can vary by quite a bit. In fact, it is estimated that an individual's urine could be 40% higher in the urine than the blood.

Another problem with urine testing is because of how the bladder functions in the human body. The body stores urine in such a way that the contents of the bladder will produce an ever changing composite of a continuously adjusting BAC. Because of this fact, urine will likely produce a sample that only provides insight on that person's alcohol content at that exact moment. These circumstances generally lead to a driver being unjustly charged with DUI.

This can be a bit confusing and technical. Let me give you an example of how a urine test will be a disadvantage to a driver suspected of DUI:

You stopped drinking hours ago. Let's say that about four hours before being tested, you had a few shots of tequila and a couple of beers. But, you haven't gone to the restroom since having the drinks. You take the test those fours later and your BAC comes back deceptively high. This is because your bladder still contains the alcohol you consumed earlier in the day.

In addition, urine tests are not immune from the all too common laboratory mistakes that also plague blood tests. Samples which are not stored correctly or are tested with faulty machines consistently produce bad results.

Give my office a call if you have been arrested for DUI in Fresno. I have been practicing in this area of law for more than 26 years and I realize that many people are unfairly arrested. A DUI conviction can be quite burdensome on you and your family -- don't be afraid to assert your legal rights!

About the Author

Terry A. Wapner

Terry A. Wapner confines his practice to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and related crimes.


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