October 2018 - Motion to Suppress Blood Alcohol Evidence ALLOWED
Summary: Our client was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was transported to the hospital due to her injuries. The police alleged that she was operating under the influence of alcohol. While at the hospital, her blood was taken and screened for a blood alcohol level by the hospital laboratory through a process known as enzymatic testing. The prosecutor requested her medical records containing the blood alcohol level and intended to use this evidence against her at trial.
Results: Our office filed a motion to suppress the blood alcohol evidence. Attorney Bernard argued that an enzymatic blood test is merely a screening tool that is not intended to produce a scientifically reliable quantity of alcohol in a citizen's blood. Rather, it is used for physicians to quickly determine how to treat a patient who needs immediate care. When prosecuting a defendant for operating under the influence of a .08% or higher, the reliability of a test result is of the highest importance. Our expert testified that enzymatic testing is not accepted by forensic toxicologists as scientifically reliable, and therefore, the result is inadmissible.
After the hearing, the judge then ruled that the Commonwealth had failed to establish that enzymatic blood testing is scientifically reliable for forensic quantitative purposes. The judge also found that the Commonwealth had failed to establish that enzymatic testing has general acceptance in the forensic scientific community to quantify a level of alcohol in a citizen's blood. This result is a HUGE WIN for the client and for the advancement of science in the courtroom. Because we were successful on the motion, the blood alcohol evidence in her case cannot be used at trial.