Blood Evidence In a DWI Case Can Be Challenged
If you are arrested for a DWI and a blood test is administered, police officers now have irrefutable evidence that you were driving while intoxicated, right?
The results of a blood test can be successfully challenged in a court of law, and it is possible for a judge to suppress this evidence. Consider this recent case in New Hampshire:
“In October of 2014, a New Hampshire judge rejected critical blood test evidence the criminal case against a Hampton, NH woman who was accused of driving while intoxicated and striking and killing a pedestrian.
Rockingham Superior Court Judge David Anderson determined that Hampton police officers should have sought a search warrant before obtaining critical blood samples from Denise Kooyoomijian after she was arrested in October of 2013.
Prosecutors argued that, by the time police officers were able to obtain a search warrant, Kooyoomijian’s blood alcohol content would have declined considerably; however, Anderson rejected this argument. In his ruling, he stated that officers were capable of preparing a search warrant application more quickly than they did.”
Challenging the Blood Sample’s Condition
The primary theory behind blood testing is that the blood which is being analyzed is in the exact same condition as the blood that was drawn from the defendant’s veins at the time of collection. However, this assumption is rarely true. New Hampshire state law necessitates that a blood sample’s integrity must be maintained from the time it is collected to the time it is tested and the results reported. It is a scientifically recognized fact that a blood specimen’s integrity can be negatively affected during this process.
The two primary methods of challenging a blood sample’s condition are 1) the manner in which the blood was collected and 2) how the blood sample was stored.
Testing Of the Specimen
The majority of forensic labs that specialize in the testing of blood specimens on behalf of law enforcement agencies utilize a technique that involves the use of a machine called a Gas Chromatograph. Frequently, the manner in which this piece of equipment is used results in an assumptive determination of BAC, rather than using a confirmatory method that is specific to the alcohol itself. This process creates compounds that can potentially respond to the detection method in a manner that is similar to that of alcohol. This causes these compounds to be falsely read as alcohol. Moreover, this specific process cannot gauge whether the alcohol that is measured was present originally in a person’s veins or whether it formed during the time delay before the blood analysis was conducted.
The Lack of Error Reporting
Finally, an alarming number of forensic labs are reporting their blood analysis results without investing the time into determining the actual error rate that is produced by their processes. Failure to determine and analyze the range of error or total uncertainty associated with a forensic lab’s methods is not a valid or scientifically sound procedure. Many organizations responsible for lab accreditation are now necessitating labs to determine and report the range of error that is associated with their methods. This process is complex, and it requires a lab to recurrently gauge, update, and sustain that determination. Most forensics labs employed by law enforcement agencies are either not concerned or not competent when it comes to adhering to valid scientific procedures. Consequently, these forensic labs routinely report scientifically invalid and arbitrary BAC levels.
Why You Should Have Professional Representation After a DWI
This blog is not designed to start a technical discussion. Instead, our hope is that it will assist our clients in understanding that when a New Hampshire motorist is pulled over, arrested for driving while intoxicated, and undergoes a blood test, the results of the blood analysis are not always accurate. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, know that you can fight the criminal charges that are being alleged against you. It is wholly possible that these charges are being made based upon false evidence.
If you need legal representation when it comes to fighting a DWI charge, please contact our law firm today. Not all NH DWI lawyers are as familiar with the science that is behind blood analysis as ours are, and you want to ensure that your case is being handled by no less than the best. Your initial consultation is free, so please don’t delay.