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How California Title 17 Violations Can Help Your DUI Case

How California Title 17 Violations Can Help Your DUI CaseIf a police officer pulls you over and charges you with DUI, there are certain procedures and protocols that he or she must abide by. Many of these requirements fall under a set of rules known as Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations. In short, Title 17 dictates how blood tests, breath tests, and urine tests must be handled. If an officer violates a portion of Title 17, the prosecution may not be able to use the evidence against you or it can be argued that blood alcohol level is not accurate. Thus, Title 17 is often the cornerstone of DUI defense strategies in the state of California.

Title 17: Blood Test Requirements

Blood tests have strict rules. The person who draws the blood must be an authorized technician. When the technician cleans the draw spot, he or she must use a cleaning agent that it not alcohol-based.

Anticoagulants and preservatives are the elements that are supposed to be placed inside vials to keep the blood samples from clotting or fermenting, which can produce false blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings. These materials have their own special requirements, including the following:

  • Expiration – Anticoagulants must not be expired.
  • Properly Mixed — Anticoagulants, preservatives, and the blood sample must be sufficiently mixed together.
  • Storage — The blood sample must be properly stored.

Title 17: Breath Test Regulations

Obtaining breath samples isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem. Breathalyzers are electronic devices used by police officers to measure the amount of alcohol on drivers’ breath after they’ve been pulled over for suspicion of DUI.

To follow Title 17, the officer must observe you for at least 15 minutes before asking you to breathe into the breathalyzer. During this time, you aren’t permitted to smoke, eat, or drink. If you vomit or regurgitate during this time, the observation period may start over, or the officer may seek an alternate means by which to measure your BAC.

The officer must ensure that you provide alveolar air, which means it comes from deep within your lungs. Mouth alcohol can contaminate the breath sample, causing the breathalyzer to register falsely high BAC readings.

Calibration is a very important part of Title 17. Breath testing instruments are required to be calibrated every 10 days or after 150 uses, whichever comes first. If the testing machine wasn’t properly calibrated, or if the officer wasn’t trained to use the device correctly, your BAC results may have been compromised.

Title 17: Urine Tests

Urine tests are the least common of the three tests, and they’re often only administered if blood or breath tests are unavailable for some reason. That said, you may be asked to produce a urine sample if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, whether the officer suspects you of being intoxicated with alcohol.

Under California law, you must empty your bladder at least 20 minutes prior to providing a urine sample. If you provide a sample before the 20-minute mark, the test may be scientifically unreliable.

Urine and blood samples must be properly stored for one year so they can be retested later by an independent laboratory, if needed.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, it’s best to have an attorney by your side who understands the specifics of Title 17. Title 17 violations do occur, and when they do, an experienced DUI lawyer will know what to look for and how to proceed to get you the best possible results. Reach out to a DUI attorney in your area if you’d like to learn more.

Contact Jon Artz today if you need to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer in Los Angeles. The fastest way is by calling: 310-820-1315.

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