The Very Basics of Blood Testing

     A proper blood sample collection must accomplish three things. First, the collection method must protect the integrity of the sample from anything that could change the alcohol concentration of the blood. Second, the method of collection must provide a sufficient quantity of blood for the testing process. Third, the collection process must be medically safe for the subject and for storage. The blood testing kit must not be expired or have contamination.

     In most states, the testing of a suspected impaired driver begins with the blood draw. The suspect is transported to the jail where an on duty nurse secures a sample of the suspect’s blood. The blood can often times be secured by a registered or licensed nurse at a local hospital. Once the blood is secured it should be placed in an area where it can remain stable. The sample should also remain tamper free by methods such as tamper resistant seals or under lock and key by a single evidence custodian. The sample is then transported to the appropriate agency for testing and analysis. In most states, the testing of a suspect’s blood is governed by rules of the state crime laboratory, the Department of Health or the Department of Public Safety. Once the sample reaches the agency, the sample is received by a person who will accept responsibility for the assignment of a case number or other identifying tracking feature. The sample is then placed in storage where it will remain for a period of time prior to testing. Once the testing procedure begins the sample will be placed in an identifying slot where analysis can take place. The testing device and the method used must assure accuracy and reliability by having constant controls, machine calibration and peer review. The results are then reported to the requesting agency. As in standardized field sobriety administration, the failure at any stage to comply with common sense and validated scientific procedure can compromise the validity of the end result.


Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website

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