Evaluating alleged drinking after driving - the hip-flask defence - Part 1. Double blood samples and urine-to-blood alcohol relationship
2002 (English)In: Medicine, Science and the Law, ISSN 0025-8024, Vol. 42, no 3, 207-224 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
This two-part article examines the strengths and weaknesses of various ways of investigating claims of drinking alcohol after driving, commonly known as the hip-flask or glove-compartment defence. In many countries the onus of proof in hip-flask cases rests on the prosecution. With good co-operation from the police and timely sampling of body fluids, such as blood and urine for forensic analysis of ethanol, useful evidence can be mustered to support or challenge the truthfulness of alleged drinking after driving. The person's blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) can be compared with values expected on the basis of the amount of alcohol consumed after driving, according to theoretical Widmark calculations. The actual BAC measured is then adjusted for the additional amount of alcohol consumed in the after-drink. Double blood samples, that is, taking two specimens of venous blood about 30-60 minutes apart and looking at the magnitude and direction of change in BAC provides little or no more information than a single blood specimen. However, the relationship between alcohol in blood and urine is very useful in hip-flask cases whereby the concentration expected in the primary urine is compared with the concentration in the bladder urine voided. The concentration of alcohol determined in a second urine sample collected 30-60 min later gives supporting evidence in hip-flask cases. A graphical method, which entails plotting ethanol concentrations in blood and urine as a function of time provides a robust and practical way to investigate hip-flask defences. In the second part of the review, congener analysis is presented, which entails comparing the concentrations of n-propanol, isobutanol and occasionally other congeners in the alcoholic beverage allegedly consumed after driving with the volatiles present in the suspect's blood and urine determined by headspace gas chromatography.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 42, no 3, 207-224 p.
National CategoryNatural Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-48837OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-48837DiVA: diva2:269733