Marijuana Blood Draw
The 12th step of the evaluation is the blood test, which is optional. However, unlike the Field Sobriety Tests and DRE Evaluation, if you refuse to take the blood test the Department of Licensing can revoke your driver’s license for at least one year. In addition, the prosecutor is likely to use your refusal as proof that you believed you were guilty, because, if you were innocent you would have freely submitted. Yet, there are many reasons why an individual would not submit to blood testing; a fear of needles, hospitals, or even a fear of an inaccurate analysis. It usually does not benefit the driver to refuse the blood test because even if the test is positive for marijuana, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong in the taking of the blood, in storing it, and in analyzing it. If there are serious problems in any part of this process, the analysis is unlikely to be used against you in court.
Drawing Blood Without Your Consent
If you are in an accident and are unconscious, police officers have the authority to take your blood without your permission. This was established to ensure that the officers have a way to collect evidence without having to wait for you to regain consciousness. This is due to the fact that the longer the officer waits, the less active the drug will be in your system.
A blood draw is typically done at a hospital, medical clinic, or sometimes, in a medical aid car/ambulance. A blood draw may only be performed by a physician, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, nursing assistant, physician assistant, first responder, emergency medical technician, health care assistant, or by a technician trained in withdrawing blood (phlebotomist). Currently, officers are not trained to draw blood, except in the state of Arizona. In Arizona, police officers may draw blood from the driver, and often do, while the driver is seated in the back of the patrol car!
Marijuana DUI: Blood Analysis
After the blood is drawn it is delivered to the Toxicology Laboratory for analysis. Typically it will take several weeks before the results are reported to the officer. The officer then reports to the prosecutor if alcohol is present above .08. This causes a delay between the date of the arrest and the filing of charges; the delay can take several weeks to several months.
The method of analysis of the blood is, “selected ion monitoring gas chromatography mass-spectrometry.” Blood testing can be subject to a multitude of errors in the analytical process. Most attorneys, and even some judges and prosecutors, believe that blood testing is the “gold standard” of alcohol/drug testing, and is virtually unassailable. Nothing could be further from the truth. A lawyer trained in the irrefutable science that underlies the analytical process knows what problems and errors to look for when reviewing the work of the Toxicology Laboratory. This level of knowledge is required in order to find the thread that will unravel the prosecution’s case.