Lab Produces False Blood-Alcohol Test Results

Tags: Criminal Defense, DUI

DUI convictions hinge on what proof is being presented against defendants, including police reports, witness statements, and other alleged evidence of intoxication. Prosecutors and law enforcement agents may present field sobriety test results, video surveillance evidence, or lab tests which are intended to indicate blood-alcohol levels.

In a recent case that has been gaining national attention, a California crime lab has produced inaccurate blood-alcohol tests that could impact dozens of DUI charges and convictions. This case reveals the often faulty nature of these tests and opens the possibility of challenging future cases based on erroneous lab results.


Every DUI case demands an independent investigation to ensure that the evidence being presented was legally obtained. Even if you took a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test that indicated your levels were above the legal limit, you should consult with an experienced advocate who can verify these results. Our Birmingham DUI defense lawyers are experienced with law enforcement techniques and are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. We also stay abreast of national DUI stories that could shed light our local cases.

According to reports, hundreds of samples that were tested at a California lab are in question after officials found flaws in testing methods. These methods produced inaccurate results for nearly 5 months. For defendants facing criminal DUI charges, the findings will bolster any defense and possibility result in the dismissal of their case. Since the lab was found to produce faulty evidence, the district attorney’s office sent out 900 letters to those who were convicted or who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. The letters indicated that there was an error in the crime lab processing.

To read test results, the crime lab ran the same sample though two different machines and then based the results on the average. The director of the lab revealed that one of the machines had failed to input certain data in the software, causing results to be off by .003 percentage points. This mistake resulted in the erroneous reporting of blood-alcohol levels for at least 20 defendants. These were reported at .08, but should have been reported at .07, below the legal limit.

Any defendant who feels that their case could have been impacted by the erroneous lab results may be able to explore additional defense options. Though officials suggest that the crime lab errors will only impact a small number of cases, there are already dozens of cases under review. Corrected test results will be on the crime lab web site by December.

For those who were charged with DUI, the erroneous results mean that many defendants could have been wrongfully charged. Others could have been given harsher penalties than were warranted. In any DUI case, it is important to have the results of your tests reviewed by an experienced attorney. All of the evidence in your case should be scrutinized to determine if it was legally obtained and whether it can be used against you. Dismissal of some evidence could result in the dismissal of your case.

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