What Are the DUI Crime LAB Errors?



What Are the DUI Crime LAB Errors?

      When undergoing a DUI test in California, law enforcement officers will subject an individual to a Breathalyzer on site or a blood test if one chooses not to take the breathalyzer test. The results from either test usually serves as a major piece of evidence that can be used in one’s case. In most cases, blood tests are preferred as they are the most reliable to determine if a person’s Blood Alcohol Content was above the required limit. Where blood samples are taken, the police usually take the sample to the lab after the arrest has been made to determine blood alcohol content (BAC).  However, crime labs frequently make errors in the collecting, testing, and storing of a suspect’s blood samples. These errors may arise when blood is contaminated, wrongly recorded, or when it’s not correctly stored as per the required procedures.


In California, all procedures for DUI blood and breath tests are indicated in California Code of Regulations Title 17. Title 17 includes the general requirements for conducting tests in the lab as well as other measures analysts should consider when handling blood tests.


 Regulations that apply under article 17 include;

·       A specified medical profession or technician should draw the blood immediately after suspect is alleged to have committed the offense.

·       The site where the blood is being drawn must be sterilized with something else other than alcohol-based product in order to avoid content of alcohol in the sample

·       There should be a preservative and anticoagulant in the vial to prevent contamination as well as clotting.

·       Reusable equipment should not be kept in alcohol or in any other volatile organic solvents.

·       Identity and integrity of the sample collected must be maintained through each process for recording chain of custody with any problems. 


Failure to follow through the procedures may undermine the accuracy of the tests and compromise the results. Though errors might be difficult to avoid, if the rules provided in this regulation are violated, the DUI lab report may be considered invalid. In most cases such lab errors are often argued in courts and may end up affecting court decisions.  


When are DUI test results Presumed valid?

Under Californian law, there is an underlying presumption that alcohol results were correctly obtained. Therefore, the burden to prove the invalidity of the results lies squarely on the shoulders of the defense. However, according to California Law even where Title 17 protocols are not observed, a blood test isn’t necessarily invalid. In most cases, the question is often whether or not the suspect’s constitutional rights were infringed upon in the process.


Mistakes resulting to Crime Lab Errors

·       Contaminating the sample blood after collection

·       Switching or intermingling samples

·       Fermentation of the samples causing the sample to produce alcohol.


Mistakes like those mentioned above could lead to erroneous DUI lab results. Unfortunately, wrong or faulty results are rarely brought to light due to the level of technical knowledge that such a process involves. However, this should not stop you from digging to find out the truth. An experienced attorney is your best chance of fighting faulty results. Criminal Defense Hero, Don Hammond, regularly looks for and finds blood sample errors that involve police mishandling of blood evidence and improper storage of samples by the lab. If you need a brilliant attorney willing to go the extra mile and prove that your constitutional rights were violated, call us today.



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