For around five months in 2013, an Orange County Crime Lab returned incorrect blood-alcohol readings for hundreds of drunk driving cases. The Orange County Register has reported that around 20 people so far were wrongly identified as driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08. However, their results were actually just below the legal DUI limit.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office reported they have sent over 900 letters to individuals who were convicted or pled guilty to DUI based on the flawed blood-alcohol tests. The letters tell the convicted drivers they should consult with a DUI lawyer if they want additional information or have questions on the legal significance of the flawed drunk driving tests. About 1,300 cases remain open.
Back in May, the problems began after the crime lab calibrated one of the DUI machines it used to analyze blood samples. After it was calibrated, the machine failed to save one data point in the software, which caused it to produce results that were off by .003 percentage points. These flawed results in blood-alcohol level were more than enough to cause legal problems for DUI convictions.
However, this does not mean that drivers who had incorrect blood-alcohol levels posted will be cleared. Blood draws at a drunk driving traffic stop are not always accurate. An .07 blood-alcohol level at the crime lab could actually have been .09 on the highway.
Prosecutors said they frequently will go to trial on a DUI case with an .07 blood-alcohol level and obtain convictions.
However, criminal defense lawyers say the flawed DUI field sobriety tests raise legitimate legal questions about the credibility of the crime lab that could help them win the case for their clients.
If you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles and have reason to believe the results of your chemical tests are incorrect, contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer at Cron, Israels & Stark. Our law firm has a track record of success and know how to effectively build a strong legal defense.