DUI defense team questions validity of blood tests

When people in Birmingham and others living elsewhere are pulled over for drunk driving, certain procedures must be followed by law enforcement officers. When those procedures are not followed, an individual's rights may have been violated.

Certain procedures must also be followed in medical facilities when blood tests are completed. One recent news story shows that the outcome of an entire case can be altered if those who obtain blood samples fail to follow those procedures.

Last year, a couple was involved in an accident in another state. The man sustained injuries in the crash. Sadly, his wife did not survive. Authorities claim the man was drunk at the time of the accident and that his impairment caused the car to cross over the center line and collide with an oncoming pickup truck. The man allegedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.17. He was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

The man's defense team, however, argues that a preservative was not added to the man's blood sample, thus making it unreliable. Defense lawyers have even enlisted the help of a forensic pathologist who has stated that certain preservatives must be added to blood samples in order to prevent them from fermenting.

The man has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin in early March.

It is unclear how this specific case will turn out. However, this story shows that drunk driving cases are not always black and white. In order for prosecutors to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove that proper procedures were followed and that subsequent tests are valid.

Source: Post-Star, "Forensic pathologist aids defense in fatal crash case," Don Lehman, Jan. 21, 2013

Our firm works with people accused of drunk driving. Please visit our Birmingham DUI defense page to learn more.

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