A ruling by all of the judges in the Court of Common Please in Lebanon County has rendered DUI blood tests inadmissible there.
The issues stems from problems with the way Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) conducts blood tests. There are two main issues that the court found:
1. The Use of Supernatant vs. Whole Blood
GSH uses supernatant not whole blood. Our DUI laws require that the BAC be expressed as whole blood, not part of the blood (supernatant) The BAC reported in supernatant is significantly higher than that in whole blood and by law, the Commonwealth must present a scientifically valid conversion factor to arrive at a legitimate BAC. GSH does not present a conversion factor. The court wrote in its opinion:
By now it should be patently obvious that the Superior Court will require converting evidence… no one should seriously dispute converting evidence is necessary
2. GSH Not Following the Proper Procedure
Another issue was the decision by GSH to deviate from the procedure recommended by the manufacturer of the blood testing equipment. While the instruction manual calls for a specific sample size, GSH (in a “cost cutting” measure) unilaterally decided to reduce that sample size without any sort of scientific support or justification. The court strongly disagreed with the validity of this measure:
Even if the Commonwealth were to present testimony from a lab tech in support of the notion that the size of the sample can be reduced below what is set forth in the Siemen’s operating manual, we would reject such testimony… the instruction manual for that device must be scrupulously followed… this is not a decision about which we will compromise.
What Does All This Mean For Me
If you are facing pending charges on a DUI in Lebanon County, you may be able to challenge the evidence based on this ruling. If the BAC was based on blood from GSH, it will be ruled inadmissible. That may lead to the dismissal of one count of your case–the most serious count. It will also likely cause a re-evaluation of the “general impairment” charge where depending upon the police investigation (or lack thereof), it too may be in jeopardy.
If you have been convicted of a DUI in Lebanon County, you may have grounds to seek that your conviction be vacated (the charges you plead guilty to or were found guilty of reopened) through this ruling. If litigated correctly, this is a very strong issue and it could mean that your case gets overturned.
If you have been convicted of or are facing DUI charges in Lebanon County, please call 1-866-MCSHANE or submit the contact form below. The McShane Firm was at the forefront of this important ruling and knows what it will take to protect your rights.