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Chemical Testing in New York

There are three tests used as evidence in New York DUI cases: Blood, breath, and urine tests. A chemical test refers to any analysis of the chemistry of breath, blood, urine, or saliva to determine the BAC of a defendant. An officer, usually, will ask a driver to take a breath test if it is suspected that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, the breath test has limitations, so blood and urine sampling are the most reliable methods used to determine BAC.

Breathalyzer tests are administered at the scene where the officer has pulled a driver over. For a breath test to be admissible in court, it must be found that the testing device was in proper working order at the time of administration and the chemicals use must have been of correct type for the test. For a breathalyzer to be admissible it must also conform to these rules: (1) Must be administered within two hours of the arrest; (2) the defendant must have expressly consented to do so and; (3) the consent must be voluntary under the totality of the circumstances.  That is to say, a chemical test must have a strong foundation under the law to admissible in court. And if not, the court is still allowed to take the allegation into account when deciding to charge a defendant with DUI.

A chemical test can be compelled by the court if there is (1) probable cause, (2) exigent circumstances and, (3) there is a reasonable examination procedure. This can be done over a defendant’s objection without trampling his rights to Due Process or Fourth Amendment rights of the Constitution.

For blood and urine testing, the proper procedure must be followed while extracting and analyzing the blood and/or urine samples. If proper procedure is not followed the result could be inadmissible in court.


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