Reliability of BAC Tests: BAC Urine Test/Urinalysis | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Reliability of BAC Tests: BAC Urine Test/Urinalysis

This is the fourth of a four-part series of blogs covering the reliability of BAC tests commonly used by law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania.

In this blog, we consider the reliability of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) urine tests, or urinalysis tests. Additional BAC tests considered in previous blogs are BAC breath tests, and BAC blood tests. If you’ve submitted to any of these tests after a DUI stop, it’s important to contact an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney immediately. Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free case consultation.

BAC Urine Test

Due to the fact that water can remain in a person’s body over an extended period of time, BAC tests involving urinalysis are deemed the least accurate of the three alcohol concentration testing methods. This is of particular concern in cases where an individual’s recorded BAC is close to or slightly above .08 percent, the legal limit in Pennsylvania.

Urine Test Reliability Issues

In the vast majority of cases, a urine test is not used unless the other two BAC testing options are not available. This form of testing for BAC is performed by comparing the urine-to-alcohol ratio with the BAC. Most often, a ratio of 1.33:1 urine-alcohol to BAC is used. However, the use of this method and ratio is not generally considered reliable. In fact, studies have concluded that the urine alcohol level can vary to a great degree from the actual BAC in the blood. Due to the lack of reliability involved in determining blood alcohol concentration, these BAC tests are rarely used in Pennsylvania DUI cases.

Additionally, a BAC urine test generally has to be performed a considerable amount of time after the actual traffic stop, which may affect the accuracy of the test. The test results may also be skewed due to the fact that alcohol can take nearly an hour from consumption to be present in the urine. Alcohol can also linger in a person’s system for varying time periods of time. Therefore, a urine test that indicates a .08 or greater BAC taken 12 or 15 hours after consumption may not prove the individual was over the legal limit at the time of the traffic stop.

The testing of urine and the testing of blood for alcohol are both similar in terms of the toxicology involved. BAC urine testing can suffer the same inaccuracies due to issues involving mishandling and improper storage. Your Pennsylvania DUI lawyer can call into question the urine test results if the sample was not properly stored or labeled, you were not provided sufficient privacy while producing your sample, you were not provided a clean cup for the sample, or you did not empty your bladder 20 minutes prior to producing your sample.

Call a Pennsylvania DUI Attorney Today

If you are up against a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, one of the most important steps you can take is acquiring the legal support of an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we understand how law enforcement uses chemical BAC tests and their results, and how those results can be challenged effectively by exposing weaknesses in the testing processes and procedures. To gain access to the strong DUI defense you need at this time, contact us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation of your case.