9 Months of Potentially Flawed Blood Alcohol Tests

The manufacturer of blood alcohol testing kits used by Minnesota law enforcement has issued a large recall based on suspicions of flawed tests over a nine-month period.

How Accurate Are Blood Alcohol Tests?

Recently, up to nine months of potentially flawed blood tests collected by Minnesota law enforcement have been recalled. The recall affects all Minnesota blood alcohol testing kits used between August 20, 2018, and the present.

A worldwide medical supplier, Becton, Dickinson, and Company (known as “BD”), supplies the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with blood alcohol testing kits. They recently sent out a notice warning of potentially flawed results in thousands of blood alcohol tests due to an error omitting a necessary preservative in test vials. This important missing preservative is a key factor in determining accurate blood alcohol content (BAC) levels in DUI testing because it prevents alcohol fermentation. Once fermentation occurs, the blood alcohol test is considered flawed and rendered inadmissible in court.  

The recall notice emphasized that once blood is collected in the vials, lab clinicians are not able to determine if vials contained the necessary preservative. As a result, there is no scientifically accurate way to determine an accurate BAC in test subjects. In some cases, BAC tests processed without the preservative have yielded reliable results, but only when test vials are stored at room temperature for no longer than two days.

According to Minnesota DUI attorneys, many innocent people are wrongfully arrested due to faulty field sobriety tests. Minnesota drivers stopped on suspicion of drunk driving will likely be asked by police officers to complete standardized field sobriety tests that include a walk and turn test, a one-leg stand test, and a horizontal gaze test. By law, these three tests are voluntary, however, a breathalyzer test is mandatory. In most cases, blood alcohol testing is done at the police station. However, Minnesota police officers are not required by law to have a warrant to perform a non-consensual blood test if they believe there is probable cause in a drunk driving accident, or a driver is involved in a criminal vehicular homicide incident.

In Minnesota and most other states, blood alcohol testing is common in DUI accidents, however, the accuracy of the test relies on the lab that processes the test results. When blood tests are flawed, it can mean the difference between freedom and prison for a driver who is wrongly convicted.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Getting falsely accused of domestic violence in Minnesota may put you at risk of losing your job, custody of your children, or even your home. You may face criminal charges and the accusation may damage your reputation in the community, as people will now view you as an abuser. False domestic violence accusations often happen when couples are in a contentious relationship with a risk of divorce.
The top reasons for license suspension in Minnesota include driving under the influence of alcohol, repeated traffic violations, and failure to appear in court or pay fines. Failure to pay child support, criminal convictions and felonies, medical conditions/disabilities, and drag racing can also lead to license suspension. The suspension takes away your driving privileges, preventing you from driving legally.
Motorists arrested for allegedly driving while impaired might wonder, “Can you refuse a breathalyzer?” In Minnesota, the implied consent law requires a person licensed to drive, control, or operate a vehicle to agree to a chemical test to check for alcohol or other intoxicants in that person’s body. Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or another chemical test is a crime, often charged as a gross misdemeanor.