It is commonplace for attorneys to bring in expert witnesses during a criminal trial to give an informed opinion of the evidence on the basis of years of experience and study. A Mississippi physician who serves as a forensic toxicologist recently gave testimony regarding possible mishandling or contamination of blood samples used for alcohol testing in a DUI case in Long Island, New York. On the same day, the judge decided that there was not sufficient evidence to conclusively demonstrate that the driver had an elevated blood alcohol concentration. Of the 16 criminal charges against the driver, the judge dismissed four.
The accident occurred in September 2018. A 12-year-old Boy Scout died and three others sustained injuries. The driver refused a breath test after allegedly driving over the fog line and crashing into the scout troop. Authorities reportedly took blood samples for testing purposes, and the results allegedly showed a BAC of 0.13%, well over the legal limit of 0.08%.
However, it appears to be an undisputed fact that it was five hours after taking the sample before it was subject to refrigeration. The physician testified that the lack of refrigeration could have allowed bacteria and fungi to grow and contaminate the sample. He also raised concerns about the calibration of the machine used to test the sample, the transfer between one tube and another at the medical examiner’s office and potential bias on the part of the technician who conducted the test due to conversations with the district attorney’s office and law enforcement.
The driver still faces 12 criminal charges in regard to the accident. People wishing for assistance with an alleged DUI offense may wish to speak with an attorney.