Can I be convicted on the basis of a lab report?

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If a person is arrested in Columbus for DUI, and subsequently a blood or urine test is conducted, resulting in a prohibited concentration of alcohol or a controlled substance, or indicating the presence of a drug of abuse, the laboratory report will be a central part of the prosecution’s case.

This is because a lab report of a person blood, breath, or urine is admissible as prima facie evidence of the information contained in the report.  In other words, if the lab report indicates that the bodily substance tested over the legal limit for alcohol or a controlled substance, the report itself, along with some evidence that the defendant was operating a vehicle, is enough for a conviction.

For a lab report to be admissible at trial and constitute prima facie evidence, it must first be served upon a defendant’s attorney, and must contain several things:

  • First, the lab personnel who conducted the analysis must sign the report under oath.
  • Second, it must set forth the findings as to the identity and quantity of the alcohol, drug of abuse, or controlled substance.
  • Third, a copy of a notarized statement from the lab director setting forth that the person who conducted the analysis is affiliated with the lab and conducts that type of test in the person’s regular duties at the lab.
  • Fourth, it must set forth a summary of the person’s qualifications, as well as a certification that the lab satisfies certain standards and department of health rules.

If a drunk driving defense attorney is served with a copy of a report that satisfies all of those criteria, the lab report will be admissible as prima facie evidence against his client.  That is, unless he files a demand for the testimony of the person who signed the report.

That demand must be made within 7 days of receiving the report.  It is absolutely in the defendant’s interest to demand the testimony of the person who conducted the analysis, not only because of the constitutional right to confront witnesses, but because it is another opportunity to attack the prosecution’s case.

If your facing possible DUI convictions in Columbus and your blood or urine was subjected to lab testing, contact a skilled DUI attorney now to learn more about what needs to be done to protect your rights.