Accuracy Concerns Over Blood Test Results in Illinois Police Labs

 Posted on March 29,2016 in DUI and Breath Alcohol Tests

blood test, Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyerIn 2011, an Illinois man was driving down a street in Lisle when a couple ran in front of his car. The driver was unable to stop in time, and the vehicle hit the woman, who subsequently died from her injuries. The driver was charged with aggravated DUI, but a judge later dismissed those charges based on insufficient evidence and calling into question the accuracy of the state’s forensic crime labs.

Troubling Inconsistencies

According to reports, when law enforcement arrived at the scene, they tested the driver’s blood alcohol content level (BAC), which lab reports later said registered at 0.086. The legal BAC limit in Illinois is 0.08. In the course of the investigation by the defense, it was discovered that there had been an internal audit of the Illinois State Police Laboratories regarding blood alcohol test inaccuracies. The audit reported “75 percent of the whole blood controls analyzed exceeded two standard deviations,” which would produce inaccurate or invalid results.

The audit said the labs needed to make a revision of their “scientific methods” and also called for training for the state police toxicology department. When the driver’s attorney showed these results to the prosecutors handling the case, they declined to introduce the evidence at the trial, which led the judge to dismiss all charges against the driver. He had been facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Deeper Investigation 

Recently, a Chicago news team decided to do its own investigation into how accurate the state police labs are. They requested records going back to 2003 and found multiple blood testing errors. 

Two major issues stood out in decades of testing. There appears to be a lack of organization in the labs, which leads to mislabeled or switched testing samples. The other major problem is how technicians are actually performing these tests. A spokesperson for the police labs defended their blood alcohol testing method, referring to it as being “widely accepted in the scientific community.” However, the testing method they are using was originally developed in 1988, almost 20 years ago, leading to many questions about its current reliability

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence and have concerns about the accuracy of the evidence being used against you, contact an experienced Arlington Heights defense attorney. Call Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law at 847-253-3400 today.



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