On February 10, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision on DUI blood testing requirements. In this latest case, the Ohio Supreme Court had to decide if the police substantially complied with the Department of Health regulations. The substantial compliance standard was created by the Ohio Supreme Court years ago. Some argue that the substantial compliance standard provides rational flexibility while others argue that it allows court to ignore serious forensic errors by the police.
The Supreme Court’s Decision On DUI Blood Testing Requirements
This case involved a fatal vehicle accident in which alcohol was suspected as the cause. A blood sample was taken at 1:50 a.m. Even though the officer went back to the police station to complete paperwork, he kept the sample in his cruiser until his shift ended at 6 a.m. when he mailed it to the crime lab. The lab test showed Baker’s blood alcohol level to be .095, over the legal limit of .08. The regulation stated “while not in transit or under examination, all blood and urine samples shall be refrigerated.” Despite the fact that the sample was not in transit or under examination, the Ohio Supreme Court held that failure to refrigerate the sample for 4 hours and 10 minutes was substantial compliance in this matter. Therefore, the evidence was not automatically suppressed for failure to follow the rule.
Another Point Of View On DUI Blood Testing Requirements
Justice O’Neill, in his dissenting opinion, criticized the opinion of the court when he stated it was “outrageous that the General Assembly assigned to experts the task of setting rules to ensure that accurate test results are admitted in drunk-driving cases only to have the rules ignored.” He further exclaimed “One man lies dead and another man faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of drunk driving. This is no time to be treating the rules regarding admissibility of evidence lightly.”
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