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All Press Releases for December 21, 2013 »
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O.C. Crime Lab blood alcohol test results found to be inaccurate

A DUI conviction can be very expensive and can cause a person lasting inconvenience.
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    December 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Many people in Orange County, California, have heard stories about field sobriety exercises and even Breathalyzers having questionable accuracy. However, most people trust that blood tests measuring alcohol content are generally accurate. In November, however, the blood alcohol readings produced by the Orange County Crime Lab were found to be incorrect, impacting many drivers charged with DUI.

Human error threw off results

According to the Los Angeles Times, an error in the forensic analysis of blood samples caused the Orange County Crime Lab to miscalculate blood-alcohol levels. The following facts are known about the error:
- The issue affected one of the two machines whose readings were averaged to produce a final calculation of blood-alcohol content.
- The error went undetected for almost five months.
- Blood samples for 2,200 DUI cases were analyzed during that time.
- There were 900 convictions based on compromised BAC readings.
- An estimated 20 people may have had BAC levels below the legal limit yet been charged with DUI.

The calculations that the machine produced were not off by a large margin -- in fact, the bias was just .003 percentage points, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, for drivers whose results were narrowly above the legal limit, and for drivers whose punishments depended on how much they surpassed the limit by, this difference proved significant.

DUI in Orange County

This error is of particular concern because Orange County may have a higher rate of DUI than many nearby areas, according to the OC Register. California's Office of Traffic Safety found that in 2010, Orange County cities including Orange and Newport Beach had the highest rate of crashes involving drivers who had been drinking. Crashes involving impaired underage drivers were higher in Fullerton and Laguna Beach than in the rest of the state.

Considering the high incidence of impaired driving in the Orange County area, the inaccurate results of the Orange County Crime Lab could have affected a large number of drivers. This error underscores the fact that it is important for drivers to understand their rights and seek legal help when facing DUI charges.

Help for a DUI

Some drivers may not think that it is worthwhile to seek the help of an attorney when dealing with DUI charges. However, a DUI conviction can be very expensive and can cause a person lasting inconvenience. More importantly, some DUI convictions can be avoided with the help of an attorney.

The recent error in the analysis of Orange County blood tests reflects the fact that law enforcement procedures are not infallible. Sometimes, a test may be administered incorrectly, and in other cases, a law enforcement officer may not correctly follow protocol for explaining a driver's rights and administering the test. In either situation, an attorney can identify weaknesses in the case against a driver accused of DUI.

If you are being charged with DUI, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. An attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and improve your chances of avoiding a harsh punishment.

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