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Lab Tests Mistakes Can Happen

Posted on May 5, 2014 in Personal Injury

When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the evidence against that individual often includes a blood or a urine test.  These tests are often viewed as strong evidence by juries in drunk driving cases, because people in general tend to have a lot of faith in the science behind lab testing. 

Unfortunately, however, the labs that read the results and determine if someone is impaired or not can make mistakes. This means innocent people’s lives could be impacted by a lab error that results in a conviction for drugged or drunk driving.  Evidence from lab tests can and should be called into question as part of a vigorous defense in many drunk driving cases, and those who are arrested should seek assistance from a qualified New Orleans DUI attorney. 

Lab Test Mistakes Can Happen in Drunk Driving Cases

It is important for an accused DUI offender to remember that physical evidence like blood and urine test results should not just be accepted without question.  The evidence of lab errors is not all that rare, and you do not actually have to prove that the lab did something wrong in order to avoid a jury convicting you.  

Since the prosecutor has the legal burden of proving that you are guilty of violating drugged or drunk driving laws, all you need to do is introduce reasonable doubt.  Raising questions about whether the test was conducted correctly or the results read properly is one possible option for introducing doubt under the right circumstances. 

Just recently, for example, CBS reported that there were 9,000 defendants in DUI cases who received notification about crime lab blood test errors. 

The Orange County Crime Lab in California uncovered mistakes within the lab, which affected as many as 200 DUI cases. Uncovering the error was expected to clear the names of around 20 people. While this may not seem like a lot of affected people, this is 20 individuals who faced potential jail time, large fines, ruined reputations, a suspended license and a costly increase in their insurance premiums. 

No one should have to go through a DUI conviction on the basis of faulty evidence, and a New Orleans criminal defense law firm can fight for your rights and help to raise doubts about potentially faulty evidence so you may be able to avoid a conviction..

The crime lab uses two different machines to analyze blood samples.  The results are averaged from both machines to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) that will be presented to the jury in a DUI case.  The problem was that some of the data entered into the computer was not properly saved, resulting in BAC readings that were not necessarily accurate. 

The incident is an important reminder that machines and computers are not infallible, especially when they rely on human interaction like entering and saving data.  You should never assume that you will be convicted of drunk driving just on the basis of what a BAC test or other lab result reads, and instead should consult with a New Orleans criminal defense law firm for help defending your rights or negotiating a reasonable plea deal. 

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