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Blood Tests in Drink Driving
& Drug Driving offences


Drink Driving

When can a blood sample be taken?

There are three situations.

After a motor vehicle accident.
Every person over 15 years of age who is taken to hospital as a result of a motor vehicle accident must allow a doctor to take a sample of that person's blood for analysis.

At the request of the Police.
If a breath analysing instrument is incapable of measuring a drivers breath alcohol concentration for any reason whatsoever, the driver can be required to provide a sample of blood and for that purpose may be required to accompany the police to a hospital or other place where a doctor can take the blood. There is no charge for the taking of this blood sample.

At the request of the Driver.
After a driver has received a certificate of breath analysis (breath test result) the driver may request the police to arrange for a blood sample to be taken by a doctor or a nurse. The driver may be required to pay the cost of having the blood taken (usually about $60). If the police have done or said anything which discouraged or prevented you from obtaining a blood sample then it would be wise to get legal advice about defending the charge. Getting a blood test result is generally the only way to show that the breath test result is unreliable or incorrect.


Blood Analysis

Blood is taken by syringe, usually from the arm, and is extracted into three vials. Two vials are kept at the hospital for the police: one for analysis and one for back-up. One vial must be given to the driver. The blood should be kept refrigerated and tested at the earliest opportunity if the driver wants to rely on the blood analysis result. The driver can get his/her sample analysed at appropriately qualified pathologists or chemists. It is important that the analyst uses gas chromotography and not any other method of analysis, and that the analyst records all details of the sample and the analysis procedure sufficient for the evidence of the provenance of the blood sample, the testing procedure and result to be used in court if necessary.

The police sample will be tested and the result used in court. Some months after the blood sample was taken the driver will be visited by the police who will give the driver a certificate of blood analysis. The police may also allege the driver has committed an offence and may interview the driver at this time. Before answering police questions at this time you should get legal advice and read the section on Your Rights.



There are numerous matters the police must prove in court if the police are to succeed in prosecuting the driver on a blood test result. When the police fail to prove that they have followed the correct steps, or have failed to comply with strict time limits, or signed, dated, filed or served court papers incorrectly, then it is possible to demonstrate that the case has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The chance of winning blood test cases is generally better than breath test cases.


Drug Driving

If a driver undergoes a drug assessment, and the police form the opinion that the driver is affected by a drug, the police may require the driver to provide a sample of blood for analysis.

Following a positive random preliminary drug (saliva) test the police can require a further saliva test. If that test does not operate properly for any reason the police can require the driver to provide a sample of blood (in the same manner they can when conducting a breath test).

After receiving the result of a drug saliva test, the driver can request a blood test, much in the same was as a driver can request a blood test following a breath test (see the first paragraph on this page).


Related Pages:

Breath Tests
Going to Court
Drink Driving Penalties
Drug Driving





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