Blood and Urine Tests

Under New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1194.2(a), any person who operates a motor vehicle in the state is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of his or her breath, blood, urine, or saliva, for the purpose of determining its alcoholic and/or drug content. Police officers typically utilize some kind of breath tests in most driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) cases, but authorities may need alleged offenders to submit to other kinds of testing in certain cases.

Two of the more common types of testing, blood and urine testing, are used when an alleged offender refuses or is physically unable to provide a sample, or when the officer believes that an alleged offender may be under the influence of a controlled substance or marijuana. Much like breath testing, blood and urine testing are subject to strict standards and any one of a number of errors could lead to inaccurate results which could be inadmissible in court.

Attorney for Blood and Urine Tests in Queens, NY DWI Arrests

Were you arrested for an alleged drunk or drugged driving offense in New York City as the result of a blood or urine test? You should immediately contact Law Office for help determining whether the test was lawfully conducted and properly performed.

Rochelle S. Berliner is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Queens who also represents clients facing DWI charges in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and surrounding areas of New York City. Call Law Office today to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options.

Overview of Blood and Urine Tests in New York DWI Cases

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Blood Tests in New York City DWI Cases

Blood tests are often used in DWI cases in which alleged offenders have refused or are physically unable to consent to provide a breath specimen. In such cases, police officers may have judges on call who can provide warrants that allow for authorities to forcibly administer blood draws.

New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1194.4(a) establishes that the only people authorized to withdraw blood for the purpose of determining alcohol, drug or marijuana content are:

  • A physician, a registered professional nurse, a registered physician assistant, a certified nurse practitioner, or an advanced emergency medical technician as certified by the department of health; or
  • Under the supervision and at the direction of a physician, registered physician assistant or certified nurse practitioner acting within his or her lawful scope of practice;
  • A phlebotomist; or
  • A medical laboratory technician or medical technologist employed by a clinical laboratory approved under title five of article five of the Public Health Law.

Blood tests are essentially the most invasive form of testing that can be done. While the results of such tests are often considered to be the most accurate possible for gauging the presence of alcohol and/or controlled substances and/or marijuana, the handling of blood specimens are also particularly sensitive to any kind of mishandling.

Some of the common issues that arise with the administration of blood tests that leads to the results being inadmissible in court include, but are not limited to:

  • Test performed by unauthorized individual;
  • Test performed without a lawful warrant;
  • Improperly sealed or stored sample;
  • Contaminated sample;
  • Improper testing;
  • BAC affected by medication alleged offender was taking; or
  • Faulty or expired testing kit.

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Urine Tests in Queens DWI Cases

Urine tests are rarely used when alleged offenders are suspected of alcohol-related DWI offenses. Authorities may seek urine samples, however, when they believe that an individual is under the influence of a controlled substance or marijuana.

Tests of an alleged offender’s urine are often subject more to misinterpretation and error than blood tests. The inherent flaw of urine testing is that while it may provide evidence of an illegal drug or marijuana present in a person’s system, the material discovered is usually metabolites from the controlled substances or marijuana.  The drugs or marijuana could have been consumed days or even weeks earlier and, therefore, are not necessarily evidence that the alleged offender was actually under the influence of the illegal drug or marijuana at the time he or she was driving.

Urine tests are subject to many of the same types of handling errors that can taint the results of blood tests. Some of the other reasons that urine test results may be invalid include, but are not limited to:

  • Chain of custody issues;
  • Legal prescription or over-the-counter medication produced false positive;
  • Sample too diluted; or
  • Specimen was tampered with.

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New York Blood and Urine Test Resources

Drugs of Abuse: Approximate Detection Times | Mayo Medical Laboratories — The Mayo Clinic is a widely regarded nonprofit medical practice and medical research group. On this section of the clinic’s Mayo Medical Laboratories website, you can find the approximate detection times of various drugs of abuse as it relates to blood and urine testing. As you can see here, the detection time of many controlled substances is up to three days, although chronic marijuana usage may be detectable for up to 30 days.

Birchfield v. North Dakota, 14-1468 — On June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in this case that consolidated three petitioners who were all arrested for alleged drunk driving offenses. The Court held that while the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving, it does not allow for warrantless blood tests. As a result of this holding, the Court overturned the conviction of a North Dakota man who refused to submit to a blood test, affirmed the conviction of a Minnesota man who refused to submit to a breath test, and sent the conviction of another North Dakota man who submitted to a blood test that he was told he had to agree to back to the lower court to determine if the consent was voluntary.

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Law Office | Queens DWI Blood and Urine Tests Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested in the greater New York City area for an alleged drunk or drugged driving offense after a blood or urine test, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Law Office can investigate how your test was conducted and fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner aggressively defends individuals all over Queens County, New York County, Bronx County, and Kings County. She can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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