As discussed in a prior blog, when you are charged in New York with Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired, the most common method used by police to determine your blood alcohol concentration is a Breathalyzer type machine. However, the police may, and sometimes do, request a blood sample instead. I have already discussed who may perform the draw, the sanitizing of the skin and the need for the collections tubes to contain anticoagulant and anti-fermentation chemicals. Assuming the draw was done by an authorized person, the skin was properly sanitized with a non-alcoholic swab and the prosecution somehow was able to establish the collection tube contained the necessary anticoagulant and anti-fermentation chemicals, the next area of attack for New York defense counsel is whether said chemicals were properly mixed with the blood after the draw.
The mixing of the chemicals and the blood is critical. The instructions that come with the kit manufactured by NIK Public Safety Inc (the kit most commonly used by law enforcement agencies) instruct the blood drawer to slowly invert the collection tubes at least five times after blood collection is complete to assure the proper mixing of the anticoagulant and the blood. The kit also instructs that the officer who requested the blood test invert the collection tubes slowly at least 20 times immediately after the blood is drawn.
This requirement should be explored by defense counsel. Many times hospital personnel are not familiar with this requirement because they don’t normally do it when they take blood. Furthermore, I have seen police officers testify that they didn’t even know about this requirement. If the collection tubes are not properly inverted after collection, the chemicals will not properly mix with the blood. Just imagine a cup of coffee with sugar at the bottom. The coffee will not taste sweet unless the coffee is stirred or agitated to mix the sugar. If there is no testimony about the proper inverting of the tubes after the blood draw, you should move to have the blood test result suppressed. If it is not suppressed, your attorney should ask the toxicologist whether the failure to properly mix the chemical affects the integrity of the sample.
For more information about Driving While Intoxicated in New York contact us to discuss your specific situation.