Blood test to be city DUI gauge by 2010

The Arizona Republic
October 14, 2007

Blood test to be city DUI gauge by 2010
Lindsey Collom, The Arizona Republic

The following quotes are from the above-referenced article. For an exact reprint of this article click here to see the full article in PDF format.

More cities are using blood samples vs. breath samples to build DUI cases, which proponents say is the most accurate way to test a person's blood-alcohol concentration.

The stakes for drunken drivers could never be higher, especially since a new DUI law went into effect last month requiring first-time offenders to use a device that requires them to provide a breath sample to start their car.

Defense attorneys have said the stiff consequences imposed in the new DUI law makes it more imperative for them to challenge their cases. The law requires first-time offenders to equip their vehicles with ignition-interlock devices for at least one year.

"Super extreme" offenders, or those with a 0.20 percent blood alcohol content or higher, will face a minimum of 45 days in jail.

Craig Penrod, a Tempe DUI attorney, said blood evidence is more difficult to refute, but it's not bulletproof.

"The breath test has been a nightmare for the courts in recent years and a lot of that will go away, but it's still a machine that does analysis in a similar way to how the breath test does it," he said. "It's not really what the average guy envisions."

"It's a completely different process at a hospital," he said. "Now, we have police officers with minimal experience doing blood draws. Sometimes I think they just get it wrong."

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