If you’re pulled over for drinking and driving or for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, officers can request that you submit to a blood, breath and/or urine test. You don’t have a choice which test you’re given, but urine tests are easily the least reliable of the group. In many cases, it’s a test of last resort in the event other chemical tests aren’t available, but you’re obligated to comply anyway because of state Implied Consent laws.
There are a number of reasons why urine tests are inaccurate. It starts with the way the bladder works. Urine is stored in the bladder and remains only until it is emptied. That means that the contents are constantly shifting and changing, which can lead to an inaccurate blood alcohol count or drug level measurement. The results of this type of test tell less about what you’ve been doing than any of the other tests. If you drank four hours ago, but you have urinated since you drank, your count would be far too high. If you just had something to drink on a full bladder, you’ll have a test result that is too low.
The numbers almost never add up. In most cases, the alcohol level in your urine is 1.33 times the alcohol level in your blood stream, but that can vary from person to person. Add that to the fact that urine samples are often analyzed in the same labs blood alcohol levels are, and you can factor in some of those same lab errors many people encounter with other testing measures.
Many urine tests are qualitative and not quantitative. That means that the test may show that the urine is positive for a certain drug, but does not show at what level. Drugs like marijuana and many prescription drugs can remain detectable in urine for days or weeks after the effects have long worn off. Unless there is a quantitative test is impossible to know whether the person was under the influence of that drug at the time of driving.
When You Might be Subjected to a Urine Test
Police officers know that urine tests are notoriously inaccurate, but in the event that you submit to a breath test and it shows a result of less than .08, officers will sometimes make you submit to a urine test to attempt to find traces of alcohol and drugs in your system.
Fighting the Charges
If you’ve been charged with DUI or DWI, the time to contact a good attorney is now. Fighting a wrongful charge requires a better defense, and Norton Hare can help. Contact us today for a free consultation session.