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Awaiting blood results for drink driving?

April 14, 2020 by in category Drink Driving, Drug Driving with 0 and 0
Home > News > Drink Driving > Awaiting blood results for drink driving?
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We are often contacted by people following arrest for a drink driving matter before any charges are brought. There is a natural delay in these cases caused by the need to await the result of the blood analysis. This period can be challenging if there is no plan in place as your imagination runs wild thinking about all of the worst case scenarios that could play out.

We strongly recommend that anyone facing a potential charge gets in touch well before the police confirm your court date as we can be getting on with many strategic steps that could prove to be important later on down the line. We can also bring a huge sense of relief to people who have been doing their own research without the essential input of a member of our legal team.

Below we have outlined some of the basic legal background to a drink drive arrest when a blood sample is taken but urge you to contact us if awaiting the blood analysis results for further information about how we can help.

Preliminary test at the roadside

In accordance with section 163 of the Road traffic Act 1988 a police constable in uniform or a traffic officer has a power to stop any mechanically propelled vehicle.

This power however does not extend to randomly requiring a driver to comply with a preliminary test.

Reasonable suspicion or belief

Unless the suspect has been involved in an accident when there is an automatic power to require a test, the officer stopping the vehicle must have a reasonable suspicion or believe that the driver has alcohol in their system to be able to make a requirement for a preliminary breath test if there is a suspicion of drink driving.

In what circumstances can a blood specimen be taken from you

For the drink driving offence, under section 7(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a requirement […] to provide a specimen of blood or urine can only be made at a police station or at a hospital; and it cannot be made at a police station unless-

(a) the constable making the requirement has reasonable cause to believe that for medical reasons a specimen of breath cannot be provided or should not be required, or

(b) specimens of breath have not been provided elsewhere and at the time the requirement is made a device or a reliable device […] is not available at the police station or it is then for any other reason not practicable to use such a device there, or

(bb) a device […] has been used (at the police station or elsewhere) but the [police] constable who required the specimens of breath has reasonable cause to believe that the device has not produced a reliable indication of the proportion of alcohol in the breath of the person concerned.

In the event that an alternative to an evidential breath test is to be required, section 7(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 gives the police officer making the requirement the power to choose whether the type of specimen required will be one of blood or urine, unless a doctor or medical practitioner is of the opinion that a blood specimen cannot or should not be taken.

Blood samples

The blood samples must be taken by a doctor, medical practitioner or registered health care professional. Your consent must be obtained before a sample of blood is taken from you. In legal terms, consent is not as straightforward as your agreement and co-operation.

Once you agree to provide the specimen of blood the doctor or health care professional will proceed to take two samples of blood for analysis.

You must be offered one of the samples for your own analysis if you wish to do so. You should also be asked to choose which one of the two samples of blood you wish to take.

If you chose not to take one sample, both samples will be sent off to a police forensic laboratory, however only one sample will be analysed.

Released under investigation

In most cases, you will then be released from custody pending further investigation. You will be advised that if the sample contains more than the prescribed limit for the drug you have been tested for or more than 80 mg of alcohol, you will receive summons by post notifying you exactly what the amount was per 100 ml of blood.

What to do in that ‘limbo’ period?

what to do waiting for blood resultsThe time waiting for the outcome of the blood test can be a long and stressful process. If you have requested one of the samples, you will have to decide which laboratory you should send you blood sample to for your own analysis or if you should actually arrange for your sample to be analysed.

You will most likely have a lot of questions about the process yet to come. In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, most of us are finding that the unknown can be a really difficult time in our life. Therefore, we believe you should seek professional advice from motoring law experts to take some of the “weight off your shoulders”.

Although many think that all you can do when released under investigation is to wait for the results, we think that it is far better to be proactive and use this time to your benefit by preparing your case from the outset, especially if it is highly likely that your result will come back over the limit.

Record your version of events

It is important to make a note of as much as you remember from the roadside procedure and from the process of taking of your blood sample by a doctor or health care professional. Although these details may seem irrelevant, there are numerous intricate procedures that must be followed by the police and health care professional that if not followed, could be fatal to the prosecution case.

To analyse or not to analyse?

Another decision you must make is to whether to send off your blood specimen for your own analysis. Once we take your detailed statement to find out the circumstances of the alleged offence, we would advise you whether you should, or you should not send your blood sample to a forensic laboratory for analysis.

Preservation of evidence

Another important factor to consider is the video/audio record of your time in custody which can also be vital to your case. You might be waiting for a charging decision for a very long time, during which there is a risk that the CCTV from your time in custody might be destroyed. In many cases, we write to the police station you were taken to following your arrest to require the preservation of the footage.

When to seek help from specialist motoring offence lawyer?

The best time to seek specialist advice and help is as soon as you are released from the police station under investigation. You may be encouraged to see the Geoffrey Miller Team’s proven track record in dealing with blood drink driving cases.

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