This week in Orange County, officials made a huge discovery. The Orange County Crime Lab which handles blood samples taken from DUI suspects was using flawed testing techniques to measure the blood-alcohol levels in suspects' blood.
Hundreds of samples were tested and flaws were found; some dating back to almost five months to late May It is reported that several dozen DUI cases were possible affected. In fact, about 900 people received a letter from the district attorney's office informing them of this error.
Many of the people who received the letter have already been convicted of their DUI charges or accepted some form of plea agreement. Many are very upset and DUI attorneys are reviewing all of their Orange County cases from that period to make sure none of their clients could have been affected.
The lab error occurred due to improper calibration. When a DUI blood sample is sent to a lab for evaluation, the lab is supposed to test the sample twice using two machines. The average of the two is given as the final result. One of these machines at the Orange County Crime Lab was calibrated incorrectly which made it give readings that were off by .003%.
The Crime Lab Director is saying that because of the averaging of the two machines and the calibration error was very small, very few suspects were likely affected by this. Corrected blood sample results are expected to be posted by December 1st.
For DUI offenders and attorneys, this is a huge deal. The difference between .07% and .08% is a very big distinction and it is not fair to citizens to be held accountable for inaccurate test results. This could also cause headaches for clients who were told their BAC was lower than it actually was as they could now face DUI charges.