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Blood alcohol tests reliable only when labs analyzing samples are

When a person in Colorado is believed to be driving while alcohol impaired, a law enforcement officer may follow a series of protocols to help him determine if his suspicion is correct. While some states have raised questions regarding the validity of standardized field sobriety testing, like a one-leg stand, a horizontal gaze, or a walk and turn, for example, others support blood alcohol testing. Of course, the testing facility used to analyze blood alcohol content must maintain standards that would provide accurate results in order for blood alcohol tests to be reliable.

Colorado's state toxicology lab will no longer provide drug or blood alcohol testing. The Health and Environment Department alleges that the decision was based on financial data that suggests the lab lost both revenue and customers. A report from within the lab, however, reveals that a supervisor often supported the prosecution, encouraged employees to discuss criminal cases openly and failed to train staff members appropriately.

The lab stopped providing blood alcohol and blood drug tests after the internal report was released. The lab recently announced that it would not reinstate these services. During the months that the lab stopped testing for blood alcohol and blood drug content, samples were delivered to a number of private labs across the state. These labs provided accurate testing at competitive prices. An independent lab also tested some 800 samples of blood that had previously been tested by the state toxicology lab. They found 95percent of retested the blood samples to have results consistent with their original results.

Blood alcohol testing is viewed by many people as being the most foolproof method of determining drunkenness. When people face drunk driving charges, it may be helpful to discuss them with an experienced attorney.

Source: Coloradoan, "Under-fire Colorado toxicology lab to halt drug, alcohol testing," Oct. 22, 2013

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