Facing DUI charges? Don't be afraid to challenge the evidence

Some of our recent posts have focused on how defendants can contest the evidence against them in their DUI case. It can be pretty scary to realize that the results of a breath or blood test show that you were driving under the influence (with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher). How could you possibly challenge such strong evidence?

The fact of the matter is that law enforcement officers are humans, and all humans make mistakes. There have been numerous cases in West Virginia and around the country where the accuracy of test results has been compromised by mistakes in administering the tests and/or analyzing the results.

One recent example comes from a county in Pennsylvania. The district attorney’s office in Somerset County is currently reviewing an unknown number of drunk driving cases because it was revealed that the results of blood tests could be inaccurate.

According to news sources, the hospital that performed the tests was only testing suspects’ blood serum, not their entire blood sample. There is a calculation that can be done to determine what a suspects’ blood-alcohol concentration would be (based on serum tests), but prosecutors were not making that calculation. Without it, the results of a blood-serum test could skew a defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration by up to 15 percent. That’s more than enough to erroneously convict a driver who was under the legal limit.

This particular error may not be widespread, but it illustrates the larger point that evidence is not irrefutable. Mistakes can be made, and they are made more often than you might think. For this and other reasons, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will examine your case from every angle.

Source: Claims Journal, “Pennsylvania County Wrongly Estimated Blood Alcohol Levels,” Aug. 25, 2014

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