There is an old saying among scientists that "Nature abhors a vacuum." In other words, if we try to create a vacuum, Nature tries to fill it with air. This is a problem with DUI blood tests.
The blood collection tubes or vials used in a DUI blood draw have a vacuum inside. It is the vacuum inside the tube which sucks the blood from the subject's vein into the tube when blood is drawn. The problem arises when this vacuum is compromised, i.e. when air gets inside the tube. Because when air gets inside the tube, it can bring contamination with it, including our old nemesis, candida albicans. Which means fermentation and endogenous alcohol formation could result.
The state’s lab expert will sometimes claim that if the vacuum had been compromised and air had gotten inside the tube, no blood would have been sucked in; therefore, the argument goes, the fact that blood was sucked inside the tube proves that all is well, the vacuum was not compromised, and air had not gotten into the tube. An experienced Phoenix DUI attorney, however, knows that this is not true, and will check to see whether the tubes are partially filled or fully filled.
A partially filled tube can be the result of the needle lodging against the inside of the subject’s vein during the blood draw. But the more likely cause of an inadequately filled tube is that air has somehow gotten inside of the tube, so that there was not enough vacuum to draw in the full amount of blood.
How can air get inside the tube? One way is if the tube’s seal has deteriorated. Tubes come with an expiration date. This represents the end date for the manufacturer’s guarantee on the seal and the vacuum inside. But even before the expiration date, a seal could deteriorate--just like anything else that is under warranty may fail.
Air may also get inside the tube if the phlebotomist or police venipuncturist improperly punctures the stopper. In addition, one must understand that the needle is double ended; one end punctures the stopper on the blood tubes, while the other end punctures the subject’s vein. The needle should not be withdrawn from the subject’s vein until both tubes have been filled and the other end of the needle has been withdrawn from the tubes. If the needle is withdrawn from the subject’s vein while the other end is still inserted in a tube, the vacuum in the tube will draw in outside air–including, of course, candida albicans. The attorney must carefully cross-examine the cop who drew the blood on this point, because this can occur even if the tube is full or nearly full of blood–in other words, even if it isn’t immediately obvious that something went wrong. This most commonly occurs after the second tube is filled; subsequent testing of that tube will result in an artificially elevated alcohol reading. Of course, that is the tube which is set aside for defense testing, thus robbing the defense of the ability to demonstrate innocence.
If you are facing DUI charges anywhere in the Phoenix area, you need a hard fighting, straight talking Phoenix DUI lawyer on your side. So contact us right away for a free consultation.