Kansas state law dictates that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent or more.
If you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, you may be expected to submit to a blood or urine test so that law enforcement can determine your BAC.
Under the implied consent laws in Kansas, you cannot legally refuse to submit to this test. If the stop is lawful (i.e., the officer has reasonable suspicion that you are operating or attempting to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs), you will need to take this test or face the prospect of being treated like you are guilty of DUI.
DUI blood and urine test procedure in Kansas
When a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, he or she must follow strict protocols or risk the evidence that is collected being deemed inadmissible to your case.
Generally speaking, a blood test is more reliable than a breath test but it is less widely used because of the inconvenience, extra expense, and potential for the evidence to be disallowed.
Blood tests are used most frequently when there has been an accident or an individual is suspected of being under the influence of a substance other than alcohol.
In cases where the driver is injured, the blood sample may be taken at the hospital as part of the medical procedure. The police can obtain the results from hospital records by issuing a search warrant. In DUI cases in Kansa, the doctor-patient privilege doesn’t exist.
Otherwise, blood withdrawal must be ordered by a police officer. Only certain individuals are permitted to perform this duty, namely:
- A person licensed to practice medicine and surgery, licensed as a physician’s assistant, or a person acting under the direction of any such licensed person
- A registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse
- Any qualified medical technician, or
- A phlebotomist
The urine sample collection procedure is different. It must be supervised out of the view of others by an individual of the same sex as the tested person.
If an authorized technician or medical professional is required to take blood or urine tests, he or she must act in good faith and deliver the blood or urine sample as soon as possible to law enforcement.
What are the consequences of refusing a blood or urine test in Kansas?
If a police officer requests that blood be drawn for legal purposes, the driver must receive the Implied Consent Notice.
If the driver refuses a blood or urine test in Kansas, the following consequences are likely:
One-year license suspension
If you refuse a lawful request by an officer to take a blood or urine test, you will likely be handed a one-year license suspension.
But that’s not the end of it. To drive again, you will need to fit an ignition interlock device (IID), which prevents you from driving unless your breath is alcohol-free.
These are both administrative penalties from the DMV. You may also face criminal penalties under the DUI laws here. The same administrative penalties may apply even if the criminal case is dismissed.
A warrant can be issued
An officer may obtain a warrant to draw blood if you refuse your test. In such cases, you have no right of refusal and the blood can be taken by force if necessary.
You may still be convicted of DUI
Refusing a blood test alone is unlikely to prevent a conviction, given that a search warrant can be obtained.
Your refusal to agree to a test will also be used as evidence against you at a trial, with prosecutors often arguing that the driver was trying to cover up an intoxicated state.
Flawed blood/urine tests can lead to elevated BAC levels
Your DUI lawyer should know that many blood/urine tests in Kansas are flawed and can be challenged.
The complex rules concerning test procedures and the use of highly technical equipment mean that, by challenging a blood/urine test, important evidence can be uncovered for your defense.
Several key questions need to be asked by your DUI lawyer:
Were the machines calibrated correctly?
Blood tests in Kansas are generally sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) in Topeka for testing and results may take several months to come back.
Your lawyer can request all the relevant records from the KBI, including detailed information such as the calibration of the testing machines, other sample records tested at the same time, and the chain of custody for the sample.
How was your blood taken?
Your lawyer can check information on whether your arm was cleaned with alcohol before the test, which could have contaminated the reading and led to an elevated BAC result.
A good defense lawyer will check background information and interview doctors and nurses about the tests. Had the individual tasked with taking the sample been adequately trained?
What part of your blood was tested?
Your lawyer will also check whether the whole blood was checked or just the plasma and whether an anticoagulant or preservative was used.
When a hospital tests blood, it often removes the cellular material and clotting substance, which interferes with BAC test accuracy. A forensic test from an approved KBI blood kit will be more precise.
If blood plasma alone was tested, higher BAC readings will result because the removal of solid, cellular material will lead to the same amount of alcohol in a smaller volume of blood. If this is the case, the evidence from the hospital test may be inadmissible.
Could your hematocrit levels have given a falsely high BAC?
Hematocrit is the percentage of your whole blood made up of cellular material as opposed to plasma.
An average male has a 47 percent Hematocrit, meaning that their blood is 47 percent cellular material and 53 percent plasma (which is mainly water). Alcohol gravitates towards the liquid, which can lead to an artificially high BAC reading in plasma-only tests.
Could a high fluid level lead to an artificially high BAC reading?
Because alcohol gravitates towards liquid, if you increase the volume of liquid in your body via an IV drip, it may pull more alcohol out of your body tissues into the blood, again leading to an artificially high BAC reading.
Had the blood alcohol test kit expired?
KBI-approved blood kits draw the blood and the sample is sent to the KBI for testing. Your lawyer will check the expiration dates because the anticoagulants and preservatives chemicals used in the tubes have a “shelf life”.
Have you been charged with DUI?
If you have been charged with a DUI under the harsh laws here in Kansas, speak to the lawyers at ITR Law for a free case evaluation and advice on your options.