Kentucky DUI Evidence & Chemcial Tests
In Kentucky, a person suspected of DUI may be requested to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. Which particular test or how many tests that will be requested is in the discretion of the police. Kentucky law permits officers who have administered a breath test upon a suspect to also request a blood or urine sample if they suspect the person is also under the influence of drugs.
A Kentucky DUI suspect may refuse to submit to chemical testing, but certain penalties for refusing apply (see the Kentucky Driving and Penalties tabs for more information). In certain circumstances, the police may obtain a warrant for a sample of a person’s blood, which compels a blood sample regardless of the person’s consent. Listed below is a general description of the chemical tests that are used in Kentucky DUI cases.
Types of Kentucky DUI Evidence
PRELIMINARY BREATH TESTING (PBT) - Kentucky DUI law permits police to administer a PBT to a person suspected of DUI in the field prior to arrest. PBTs are allowed in addition to any other blood alcohol level test authorized for use in KY DUI cases. PBTs are not as reliable as evidentiary breath tests, and their use is limited only to provide aide to an officer in making his/her determination of whether to make a DUI arrest. KY DWI suspects are permitted to refuse to submit to a PBT, and the refusal is not admissible against them in a court of law or in any administrative proceeding.
EVIDENTIARY BREATH TESTING – Kentucky DUI law requires all breath tests to be administered by a peace officer holding a valid breath test operator certificate. Persons who are requested to submit to a breath test must be observed for a minimum of 20 minutes prior to administration of the test to ensure that nothing is placed into the suspect’s mouth that would produce an invalid result. Breath testing MUST be administered within two hours of the time the suspect was driving. The secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet promulgates the rules and regulations for chemical testing that must be complied with in order for the test results to be considered valid. Failure to comply with such regulations will affect the admissibility of the test results in court.
BLOOD TESTING – Pursuant to Kentucky law, only a physician, registered nurse, medical technician, phlebotomist, or medical technologist not otherwise prohibited by law are permitted to withdraw blood from DUI suspect submitting to a bood test. Blood testing is the most accurate form of chemical testing in DUI cases, but it is also the most invasive. Problems with the testing, labeling, preservation and chain of custody are common grounds for attacking the admissibility of blood evidence in a DUI trial.
ADDITIONAL INDEPENDENT TESTING – Kentucky DUI suspects who have submitted to all chemical tests requested by the police have a right to additional testing of his/her blood, in addition to the testing administered at the direction of the police. The additional testing must be conducted within a reasonable amount of time and the suspect is responsible for the cost of additional independent testing. Failure to obtain independent additional testing does not affect the admissibility of the chemical tests that were administered by the police.
URINE TESTING – Urine testing is the least commonly used chemical test. It is predominately conducted in DUI cases where the police suspect impairment by drugs. Urine testing and analysis must comply with the relevant rules and regulations or the results will not be admissible at trial.