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Chemical Testing for DUI in Washington

The State of Washington uses two different chemical tests to determine blood alcohol content.

First is a breathalyzer test that requires the individual to blow into a device. The breathalyzer test does not check for blood alcohol content specifically, but gets a reading of blood alcohol content based on the amount of alcohol in the person’s breath. Because it does not directly test the person’s blood alcohol content, this test is less accurate and is only used by officers in the field to test a person’s probability that they are driving under the influence.

Second is the blood analysis test, where the State draws blood at a police station or lab, and has the blood tested for the blood alcohol content. The blood analysis test is much more accurate than the field breathalyzer test, but it is much more difficult to perform. Also, a person who draws blood and performs the test to determine a person’s blood alcohol content in this manner must be licensed by the state toxicology expert. This test is much more difficult to perform and is only done at a laboratory or police station.

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