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Current court case asks how reliable BAC tests are

When police pulled you over on suspicion of drunk driving, they likely put you through a series of tests to justify placing you under arrest. Maybe it was dark, and the road was uneven or poorly lit as you went through the field sobriety tests. You may have performed the tests adequately for conditions, but the officer arrested you nonetheless, and you found yourself at the police station having your blood drawn to test its alcohol concentration.

Of course, the results showed that your BAC was over the legal limit. From that moment, you may have decided you had no chance in court. You may even consider pleading guilty and getting the process over with. Did it ever occur to you that the results of your BAC test may be wrong?

Challenging BAC results

What you may not realize is that, because blood typically clots quickly, certain regulations must be in place to protect drawn samples and test them before they deteriorate. At least one lawsuit before the Florida Supreme Court challenges the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's handling of blood taken from those accused of drunk driving and questions whether safeguards are adequate to ensure test results admitted as evidence are accurate. Some of the specific arguments before the court include:

  • FDLA may not test your blood for levels of alcohol until the blood has already clotted.
  • Blood that is already clotting may result in inaccurately high BAC readings.
  • You may not be able to rely on the validity of the test results because the FDLA has no procedures in place for documenting the testing of blood samples.
  • FDLA has no policy for rejecting samples or notifying you if your blood sample is unfit for testing because of clotting or other factors.
  • Although certain types of needles used to draw blood may increase the rate of blood clotting, FDLA has no rules in place limiting the types of needles used to collect samples in DUI cases.

Currently, one man is serving 16 years in prison following a fatal accident after which a court convicted him of DUI. His appeal rests on the faulty rules governing the collection, preservation and testing of blood samples used as evidence in his case.

Give yourself a fighting chance

You may be in a similar circumstance, accused of having a BAC that was over the legal limit. In the face of the questions currently before the state supreme court, you will certainly want to reconsider leaving your fate in the hands of the court.

You have every right to stand up for your rights and defend yourself, especially if there is a chance the evidence against you is inaccurate or even false. Seeking a legal advocate as soon as possible after your arrest may provide you with representation that will improve your chances of a more positive future.

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