How a Lab Error Can Lead to a DUI Conviction

Law enforcement uses crime lab evidence to get DUI convictions. Breathalyzer and blood testing are designed to prove the defendant was over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit while driving. But crime labs can make errors that can lead to a false positive. In that case, an experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorney can help defend you against a conviction.


Types of Errors Crime Labs Make

How a Lab Error Can Lead to a DUI ConvictionBlood tests are generally considered to be more reliable than breath tests for DUI. But humans are prone to error, and crime labs have made their fair share in the collection, storage, and testing of blood samples.

  • Testing machines can be off due to calibration errors.
  • Blood may not be drawn correctly.
  • Blood samples can be contaminated.
  • Samples may be compromised if not stored correctly, according to standard procedures.

A small margin of error in calibration could raise a BAC that was under the legal limit of .08% enough to warrant a DUI charge. When preservatives used in blood samples are not mixed properly, or when samples are not stored at the right temperature, it can affect the accuracy of blood alcohol test results.

How a DUI Lawyer Can Defend Against False Conviction

Mishandling or Improper Storage

An experienced DUI lawyer will know how to look for and find evidence of mishandling of blood evidence by police officers, as well as improper sample storage on the part of the lab. In some cases, records of conditions or chain of custody may have been lost or misplaced.

Failure to Properly Re-Test

Under Colorado law, positive DUI blood samples must be re-tested using a different chemical principle than used in the initial test. If that was not done properly, or not done at all, crime lab results may not be considered valid.

Independent Testing

Under state law, the crime lab is required to save a portion of your DUI blood sample for one year and make it available for independent testing. A certified independent lab may find results inconsistent with those of the crime lab. If independent results show your BAC was lower, the court will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Rising Blood Alcohol

Another factor to consider is rising blood alcohol. On average, it takes between 50 minutes and two hours for the body to fully absorb alcohol into the system. If you drank and were pulled over shortly thereafter, you may have been sober enough to drive at the time, but with your blood alcohol rising, you may have been over the legal limit by the time law enforcement got around to administering the blood test.

Failure to Comply with Standard Testing Procedures

Law enforcement is required to follow strict procedures for DUI blood testing under Colorado regulations. Any failure to follow these procedures to the letter could compromise results and lead to a false, over-the-limit BAC reading. If the technician who drew your blood was not properly trained, the sample was not labeled properly, the specimen was not shipped for testing within seven days of collection, or any one of a number of possible standard testing procedure violations occurred, our Colorado Springs DUI attorney can use that error in your defense.

Speak to an Experienced DUI Attorney

At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., we have been leaders in DUI defense for decades. Attorney Timothy Bussey is the only lawyer in Colorado with the ACS Forensic Lawyer-Scientist designation. He is certified to operate and maintain the Intoxilyzer 5000, as a NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Instructor, and in forensic chromatography.

We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to effectively defend you against a false DUI charge. Call our Colorado criminal defense attorneys at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free consultation if you are facing DUI charges.