Many Minnesota residents may remember a critical DWI case from four years ago that set an important precedent regarding blood tests and the maintenance of such evidence. In the case, a man was accused of driving while intoxicated -- and according to a blood test, he was indeed guilty of the act. His blood came back with an alcohol content of 0.11, a bit over the legal limit of 0.08.
The man's lawyer requested that the blood sample be preserved so that the evidence could be tested by the defense as well. After all, we're talking about due process here. Each side gets a chance to present their case, and if one side doesn't have access to the evidence, then due process hasn't exactly been followed. In this case, the police destroyed the evidence in the year that elapsed between the request for preservation and the actual court case. The case against the man was dismissed because of this error.
During the course of this case, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the police have to preserve blood evidence in DWI cases. This is an important factor not just because of the situation involved in this case, but also because testing facilities don't always follow protocol or fair procedures.
Testing facilities may unintentionally (or possibly intentionally) taint or tamper with evidence involved in cases. This obviously skews the results of the case and, more importantly, violates the defendant's rights. A falsified or incorrect BAC reading due to testing negligence can lead to a case being dismissed against a person accused of drunk driving.
To learn more about this case and the impact it has on DWI law, please read this article over on the Sheridan & Dulas articles page.