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Blood-alcohol calibration could prove Michigan politician innocent

Michigan Representative Bob Genetski is currently on trial for DUI-related charges. Among the contentions from the defense is that the blood alcohol tests that were administered at the time of his arrest were contaminated. If successful, the politician could be found not guilty of all charges against him. If he is convicted, he faces potential fines, loss of license and driving privileges and possibly jail time.

Central to the argument being made by the defense is that there were mistakes in the calibration methods of the lab that processed the blood alcohol tests of the accused. The claimed errors included a trace amount of ethanol that may have been present in the blood that was tested for intoxication. The ethanol is said to have come from the equipment used by the lab, having been used in the calibration process recently.

It remains to be seen if the jury in this case accepts that the ethanol may have affected the blood alcohol test results enough to push the level found in the lawmaker's blood to over 0.08 percent. There was evidence presented that it was possible, however. In fact, a defense expert witness told the court that, based on uncertainty from the ethanol, the man's blood alcohol content was likely somewhere in the range of 0.076 and 0.085, rather than the 0.088 that was found when the tests were administered at the time of the arrest.

Though there will likely be opposing arguments from the prosecution in this case, the defense asserts the methods used by state labs to measure blood alcohol may be flawed. If this is the case, those who have been accused of DUI based on faulty lab procedures may not face punishments such as the loss of license and driving privileges. The outcome of this case may impact many DUI cases across our state if the lab is found to have exposed some to criminal charges with potentially inaccurate results. A well-managed defense includes the careful examination of all evidence. Anyone in Michigan who is accused of a crime has the right to mount such a defense.

Source: mlive.com, "State Rep. Bob Genetski's drunken driving defense hinges on possibility of contaminated blood-alcohol result," Brandon Howell, Sept. 24, 2012

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