There continue to be questions and problems with the way that police departments in Texas handle blood samples in DWI cases. The vast majority of DWI cases involves some specimen or sample of defendant blood that is tested for its blood alcohol content. Then those results are often the clinching evidence in a trial or plea deal that ends in conviction. As a result, the process that police departments use to test and come up with results should be beyond reproach.
But recent reports involving different Texas police departments are bring those results and processes into question. A new report out of Austin Texas is breathing new oxygen into this fire that should put all departments on notice and bring needed changes to how evidence that will be used in criminal cases should be handled.
In October 2016, reports came out of Garland, Texas that a lab expert there was under scrutiny for how he testified in DWI cases. According to those reports, he had mixed up blood samples of two different cases, which resulted in a wrong outcome for two different defendants. While the state argued this was an isolated incident, it was only one of several stories implicating crime labs across Texas.
In another case out of Houston, it was reported that an expert there may not have had the credentials that she claimed. According to those reports, that expert had testified for years that she held a Master of Science in Toxicology, but as it turned out, she only had a Master of Science in Physiological Science. While it may seem minor, it puts her (and other experts’) credibility into question.
Now it is being reported out of Austin that the lab used by the police department there does not follow correct scientific procedures when testing blood for DWI suspects. According to the ex-employee of that lab, they do not perform tests that are within a wide enough margin of error. This leads to overconfidence in results, and in a small number of cases could result in a wrong reading.
The problems that result from these questions should be obvious to anyone involved in DWI cases. Once an expert is paraded in front of a jury and testifies that the blood alcohol content of a sample was x,y, or z. The jury is nearly automatically going to believe the testimony and be persuaded to convict. That is the nature of scientific testimony in the courts. But the reality is something else all together.
Just because a so-called expert testifies about something, it does not make it so. There is always dissent with expert and scientific testimony, and it takes the right kind of legal team to point that out to a jury. Now you throw in these other kinds of questions that are raised by these many reports, and a great legal team will argue to a judge that these experts should not even be allowed to take the stand in the first place.
If you are accused of DWI in the Dallas or surrounding areas, contact us. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm our number one mission is to give you the best defense available under the law.