Earlier this month, the Valdosta Police Department shared details about the new in-house DUI laboratory. Officials say this will be the first local DUI accredited laboratory in Georgia. Crime Lab Director Becky Parker-Hall revealed that the new technology required 18 months of training. Now, the Valdosta Police Department can perform blood-alcohol testing without having to leave the precinct.
The Valdosta Police Department believes that this will save law enforcement's energy, taxpayer money, and innocent people's time. Before the introduction of this in-house technology, officers and prosecutors have had to wait months at a time to receive BAC results from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Now, the same process will only take a couple of weeks.
In today's post, I will be talking about how the new technology compares to the old.
Blood Tests in Georgia
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I think if this new technology is as beneficial as they say it is, it's a step in the right direction. While breathalyzers are faster, easier, and overall more convenient, they are generally not as reliable as blood tests. However, getting results back quickly was a major issue that led to many innocent people spending months in jail – a problem that may improve thanks to this new technology.
But while this more convenient method of testing that has been implemented in Valdosta may lead to less jail time for certain suspects, blood testing in and of itself is still an imperfect technology. Even with the expedited results process, it seems unlikely that the Valdosta Police Department will be able to get rid of human error completely. To understand how to challenge these results, it is important to understand how the blood testing process works:
A trained professional will conduct the blood draw to collect an exact sample size. If there is a sample size error within a margin of even 1/10, the result will be invalidated.
Equipment must be completely sterilized for a valid result. If the equipment comes in contract with unsterilized surfaces, equipment, or other objects, this could contaminate an entire sample and necessitate an invalid result.
The sample must be properly stored and transported to a lab, where it will be heated in a closed vial. If there is alcohol present in the blood sample, it will be gas. A gas chromatograph analyses the gas in the sample and determines the amount of alcohol in the blood. If the sample is not properly stored, is handled by unskilled lab technicians, or is handled by anyone and is not recorded in the chain of custody, a skilled attorney can cast doubt on the integrity of the sample and render the results invalid.
As a Georgia DUI Attorney, I think it is a good sign that law enforcement is working to improve this technology. However, blood tests are still an imperfect science that can give false results. If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia and have submitted to a blood test, call our office today to talk about your options. We are here for you 24/7, 365.