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Challenges against DUI blood tests persist, in pursuit of justice

Drunk driving is a serious offense, and Colorado's criminal justice system treats it as such. That reality can be scary when one understands the unreliability of the sobriety tests that the system depends on to charge and convict people of drunk driving in Colorado.

In a past DUI defense post, we discussed the controversy regarding botched blood tests in a Colorado lab. Retests had shown that some blood tests measuring the blood alcohol concentration of DUI suspects were done incorrectly and, therefore, came up with false results. That finding had and continues to have implications for some drunk driving cases in the state.

An estimated 1,700 blood test samples need to be retested in order to verify the results of the initial tests. Those first results impacted whether DUI suspects were convicted of certain drunk driving offenses. If a blood test finds a higher percentage of alcohol in the blood than what is truly there, then that wrong result can put a defendant behind bars for more time and bring upon other more serious punishments. Therefore, it is crucial that the tests used to charge and convict suspects of driving under the influence be accurate and reevaluated when there is any doubt surrounding their accuracy.

The lab technician supposedly responsible for the 1,700 potentially botched blood tests lost his position. So far, retests of about 1,300 of the tests have shown that 11 suspects' samples came back with significantly lower percentages of alcohol. The retests will give those defendants a redo at the justice that they deserve.

This controversy supports the fears that many already have regarding blood tests. It also confirms the need for criminal defense attorneys to look at such tests as potential means to defend their clients from what can be the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.

Source: The Gazette, "Springs DUI cases impacted by lab errors, lawyers say," Lance Benzel, June 16, 2012

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