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Are DWI Blood Tests Reliable?

Are DWI Blood Tests Reliable?

The short answer is “yes.” But this is only if the tests are conducted properly, and this is where the issues that plague the criminal justice system in alcohol related cases begin.

If you remember back to grade school, we were taught the scientific method, and it was imperative to follow the steps precisely and accurately each time to achieve the end result. If you missed a step in the method, or did something inaccurately, your experiment would not turn out the proper results. This same concept applies to the testing for blood alcohol in criminal cases.

The reliability of a blood alcohol analysis depends on a combination of factors. These factors consist of sample integrity, method validation and batch quality. Additionally, while machines and technology run the samples and produce quantitative data, there is still a human aspect that goes along with the preparation and quality of each sample – and this is where errors can occur.

Each client’s sample must be properly drawn from the body and stored in a climate-controlled location, even while shipped to the lab for analysis. Once at the lab, an analyst must take the sample and abide by industry standards to prepare the sample in order to maintain its integrity. This includes following a validated method and using calibrated instruments. There are industry wide organizations who accredit and audit labs to regulate these factors, however, there can still be unaddressed issues in-between lab reviews for accreditation.

Once the sample is prepped, each sample must be run under the same procedures and under the same environment. If there are any machine malfunctions or sample inaccuracies within the batch, this could result in an inaccurate batch result.

When evaluating the accuracy of a blood test result, it is imperative to choose an attorney who understands the science behind the number printed on the lab result – someone who can look at the underlying data and has the ability to evaluate the accuracy of the end result. Here at the Greening Law Group, all of our attorneys have been trained in the proper methods and scientific analysis of blood alcohol results.

Author: Cailey McLain

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