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Blood testing failure results in review of DUI cases

Did you know that there is a significant difference in your blood alcohol level depending on whether your "whole blood" or your "blood serum" is tested? It's true, and it just caused a county in Pennsylvania to suffer a major embarrassment.

The county's district attorney admitted that numerous cases were corrupted when the hospital in charge of testing blood samples tested the suspect's blood serum instead of their "whole blood." As a result, the results of their blood alcohol content test may have come back as much as 15 percent higher than what they were supposed to be. 

Numerous cases will be reviewed and there could be people who see the drunk driving charges against them dropped. Even if it doesn't necessarily lead to a dropped case, that 15 percent could be significant for people who are still charged with DUI. If their BAC was high enough, they could be subject to additional, and more severe, penalties. If the 15 percent bump made them cross this punitive threshold, then they could be spared the additional punishment.

When we talk about challenging blood tests or breath tests, we aren't insinuating that someone deserves to be "let off the hook." There could be legitimate logistical issues with the way their drunk driving case was processed, as this story clearly illustrates.

The police officers may not have had probable cause to pull you over or accuse you of drunk driving. The officers may have failed to properly administer your breath test. Or, the testing facility may have failed to properly test your blood when they established your blood alcohol level.

Source: Claims Journal, "Pennsylvania County Wrongly Estimated Blood Alcohol Levels," Associated Press, Aug. 25, 2014

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