If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge based upon a urine test, do not fret. It has been scientifically established that amongst the three most common methods used to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a DUI case, the urine test method is the least accurate. Yes, you read that correctly – a urine test is the least accurate way to determine whether you or a loved one was intoxicated.
Why are urine tests so unreliable? It is mainly due to the fact that the alcohol percentage in your urine differs from that in the blood, and no amount of calculation can provide an absolute formula to estimate of how much, or how little, the alcohol percentage in the urine is as compared to the percentage in your blood. Many experts will agree that alcohol percentage in urine is typically about 1.33 times of that in the blood; more often than not, however, this number varies widely from person to person due to several individual biological factors.
Most states have modified their laws accordingly and use the urine test method only in such cases where blood testing or breath testing procedures cannot be administered in a timely fashion. However, Ohio law remains an exception and the state continues to place undue importance on urine test results in determining a person’s level of intoxication.
In Ohio, all applicable laws and procedures related to urine tests are set forth in Ohio Administrative Code 3701-53-05, titled “collection and handling of blood and urine specimens” and 3701-53-06, titled “laboratory requirements,” respectively. This, combined with the Ohio OVI code O.R.C. 4511.19, includes the crucial elements that can both make or break a criminal defense for a DUI/OVI charge.
Fighting the Results of a Urine Test
In order to successfully challenge a urine test result in Ohio, the following nine issues should be raised and examined very carefully, since they involve important protocols that all police and laboratory staff must follow:
- Was the urine sample obtained by qualified laboratory personnel?
- Was the laboratory equipment used to collect and contain the urine sample sterilized and scientifically calibrated?
- Was the method used to analyze the urine sample specifically approved? According to O.A.C. 3701-53-03(B), there are currently six approved methods – immunoassay, thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, high performance liquid chromatography and spectroscopy.
- Was the urine sample refrigerated apart from while in transit or under examination?
- Did more than three hours elapse between the alleged offense and the collection of the urine sample?
- Did the offender take any other beverage during that time?
- Is there a chance that the sample container can be tampered with?
- Does the laboratory have a valid permit issued by the director of health?
- Was the complete chain of procedural evidence followed?
If any of the above questions’ answer is negative, be assured that you have a valid ground for challenging your urine test results under the Ohio law. Due to the complexity of drunk driving laws it is important that you discuss your DUI case with an experienced Columbus OVI lawyer.