OKLAHOMA BLOOD TEST FOR ALCOHOL OR DRUGS: LEGALLY PRESCRIBED OR ILLEGAL
Driving under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol in Oklahoma: Blood testing
Oklahoma has approved two separate chemical tests. The first approved test is a chemical breath test analyzed by the Intoxilyzer 5000 which measures alcohol only. See Breath Machines. The second approved method is blood testing which measures for alcohol and various drugs which can include both legally prescribed drugs and illegal drugs. Yes, you can be convicted of DUI in Oklahoma while taking legally prescribed drugs.
Oklahoma has an Implied Consent Law which states when a person is driving a car on a public roadway, the driver has impliedly given consent to having a chemical test performed if the driver is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxication substance. A driver has the right to refuse the test but refusing the test results in an administrative suspension of the driver’s driving privileges. This suspension can be challenged in the same manner as a suspension for a chemical test result over the legal limit of .08 breath/blood alcohol level for persons over 21 and .02 breath/blood alcohol level for persons under the age of 21. Read the Oklahoma Implied Consent Advisory.
The arresting officer decides what test to administer but must follow certain guidelines established by Oklahoma statutes and the Oklahoma Board of Tests. In order to request a test, the arresting officer must first have a valid arrest. The officer must inform the driver of his rights under Oklahoma’s Implied Consent law. These rights include the right to request an additional chemical test, the right to refuse a chemical test and notifies the driver that he/she is not entitled to consult an attorney prior to deciding whether to take the chemical test. Yes, you will be asked to decide whether to offer potentially the most damaging evidence against you and you WILL NOT be allowed to speak to an attorney before making this decision. You can read more at Constitutional DUI Limitations.
If the driver is involved in an accident where death or serious bodily injury results, the police officer can force a blood draw. If the driver is unconscious and unable to give consent to a chemical test, the driver’s consent is considered implied and the police officer can direct a blood test. Under circumstances where the driver is unable to give consent, it does not require an injury or death to proceed with a blood test.
All blood test in Oklahoma will be performed using a standardized blood collection kit. The kit is provided to the medical personnel by the arresting officer. The kit has four vaccutainers (vials) that contain an anticoagulant and a preservative. There are numerous procedures and requirements that must be followed for a proper blood collection.
The four blood samples will be given to the officer who will seal the package and takes custody of the sealed kit for delivery to the proper laboratory for analysis. The officer must refrigerate the blood kit if the officer is not able to deliver the blood kit to the lab within 24 hours. This is important because the blood can ferment if left exposed to heat too long. This is especially important in our hot Oklahoma summers.
If fermentation occurs, this will cause an increased blood level in the blood sample. If the blood sample has been contaminated, an increased blood level can result. If the anticoagulant and/or preservative in the vial is defective or not properly mixed, an increased blood level can result. These are just a few examples of how the blood alcohol level reported would be incorrect and falsely increased.
The blood sample must be processed by a laboratory approved by the Oklahoma Board of Tests. The only four approved laboratories in Oklahoma are the labs operated by the Tulsa Police Department, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in Oklahoma City. The lab at the University of Oklahoma is the only Board of Test approved lab that will process independent samples for defense attorneys.
A driver who has been tested is entitled to have one of the vials of blood sent to an independent laboratory for a separate independent analysis at their own expense. This independent test must be requested within sixty days of the blood sample being taken.
Oklahoma law requires that the blood be tested on a gas chromatographer. These machines are expensive and the test sequence is time consuming. Hospital needs information quickly , especially in emergency room settings. Therefore they do not use the gas chromatography method to analysis blood for alcohol. The analytical methods used by hospitals are routinely 20-30% higher than the true score and do not meet the basic scientific requirements to be admissible in court.
An interesting fact is that the blood is never sampled. That is correct; your blood is not sampled. A portion of the blood will be placed is a small vial (approximately 50 cc.) and a solvent will be added only partially filling the vial. Relying on a scientific theory called Henry’s Law, the air in headspace above the liquid sample is what will actually be sampled. This minute sample will be tested and then multiplied to approximate the amount of any alcohol that would be present in your body.
A blood test result over the legal limit, even a high result, does not necessarily mean a person will be convicted. Our attorneys understand how gas chromatography works. As demonstrated by the adjacent photos, we have visited forensic labs, we have researched the standard operating procedure and legal requirements for withdrawing and analyzing blood samples, we know the problems that can arise in blood testing and how to successfully challenge the test. A successful challenge to the test means the blood result will be suppressed--the jury will never know a blood sample was withdrawn. A suppression of the blood test can result from many different challenges, including but not limited to, issues with chain of custody, fermentation, expired equipment, expired certifications, and faulty equipment or maintenance. Our office has successfully challenged blood test in DUI manslaughter cases.