Tag Archives: scientific defenses to a dui

DUI Science and Blood Contamination

Blood Sweat and Tears. Number 2

The practice of modern DUI law involves understanding the various scientific tests that have become commonplace in forensic collection and storage of specimens for alcohol analysis.  Specifically, DUI attorneys must understand that contamination can increase the concentration of ethanol in a specimen.  Typically, contamination takes one of two forms.  The first is straight-forward physical contamination which may manifest itself before, during or after collection.  The second form of contamination occurs when microorganisms contaminate a sample and produce ethanol in the sample thereby falsely inflating the amount of ethanol therein.  This article will focus on the physical contamination that may cause an ethanol gain.

“A recognized source of physical contamination is the use of alcohol containing swabs to disinfect the area of specimen collection in the living patient.  This method of specimen contamination is well documented in the literature (Heise, 1959; Taberner, 1989; Goldfinger and Schaber 1982).  Medical-Legal Aspects of Alchol, 4th ed., edited by James C. Garriott, pp237-248.  Most hospital protocols call for the use of an aqueous providone iodine solution that can avoid this form of physical contamination. Id. citing (Ryder and Glick, 1986).

In situations involving trauma, your attorney should investigate whether or not the specimen may have been contaminated via a transthoracic puncture of blind external chest stick.  This type of contamination can take place in cases of trauma or death.  The attorney should look for contamination via cardiac fluid or contamination by contact with stomach contents. Id. (Logan and Lindholm (1996) and Winek et al. (1995).  In postmortem situations, collection of a specimen can be physically contaminated if the introduction of volatile embalming fluids are present prior to the collection of the sample. Id. (Newbar and Myers, 1954).  Our office has made use of legal nurse consultants to identify potential sources of contamination due to emergency procedures.

Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II is Ohio’s only Forensic Sobriety Assessment certified attorney and has attended the National College for DUI Defense’s Mastering Science Seminar on multiple occasions.  He has lectured on DUI science and has earned a reputation as an accomplished trial attorney.   Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, HuberHeights, Beavercreek, Centerville, Springboro, Franklin and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitterupdates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook,www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

DUI Blood & Urine Testing: Understanding Gas Chromatography

Gass chromatographer - oven with capliary colu...

If you have been arrested for a DUI involving blood testing you may encounter a testing procedure known as Gas Chromatography.  Gas Chromatography is the most reliable method for alcohol testing in blood and urine and has become the accepted gold standard in forensic toxicology.  Gas chromatography specificity for ethanol (drinking alcohol) is very good and this method can also identify and quantify other organic or interfering substances such as methanol and isopropanol. The two commonly used techniques for analyzing the gases are “direct injection” and “headspace analysis.”  The devise works by utilizing a flow-through tube known as the column.  The different chemicals in the sample pass via a gas stream at different rates depending on their interaction with the column’s filling.  As the chemicals exit the end of the column they are detected and electronically identified.

The defense of a blood test case should involve the use of an expert witness who will assist in two major ways.  First, the expert will know what to ask for and assist the attorney in obtaining the laboratory notes, data, chromatograms, computer printouts, worksheet packets and other important documentation related to the analysis of the subject sample.  One the proper documents are obtained, the expert can assist in looking for potential issues in the testing and/or the testing protocol.  These may include any of the following:

  • Improper chain of custody
  • Prolonged time in transport
  • Improper storage
  • Analyst did not follow SOP
  • Lab SOP not in compliance with forensic standards
  • Contamination of laboratory solutions
  • Leaking sample tubes
  • Mislabeling
  • Calibration and sourcing issues

I have attempted in every way I can to keep myself up-to-date on all issues involving forensic testing, including gas chromatography.  This has included attending the National College for DUI Defense annual seminar on DUI Defense, earning Forensic Sobriety Assessment certification and attending seminars from some of the world’s leading experts.  I recommend that any attorney defending cases involving these issues contact Alfred E. Staubus, PharmD, PhD, as he is a nationally recognized expert and someone who comes across well teaching to a judge or jury.  The future of drunk driving defense will continue to involve understanding blood and urine testing whether it be for drugs of abuse, prescription drug abuse, marijuana cases or alcohol blood tests.

Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook, www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Sources for this article:

  1. Forensic Alcohol Analysis – Gas Chromatography, Alfred E. Staubus lecturing at the 16th Annual Mastering Scientific Evidence in DWI/DUI Cases, April 16-18, 2009.
  2. http://teaching.shu.ac.uk/hwb/chemistry/tutorials/chrom/gaschrm.htm
  3. http://www.answers.com/topic/gas-liquid-chromatography