The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that blood-alcohol tests from the Scottsdale crime lab will not be excluded as evidence in Scottsdale DUI cases.
Due to inconsistent error reports, the Court released an opinion in late April ruling that tests from the headspace gas chromatograph machine are valid to use in DUI cases.
While the machine did produce some faulty test results, results were not always inaccurate, therefore leading the justices to determine that evidence couldn’t be dismissed from all DUI cases. Instead, a judge will decide if the evidence is inherently unreliable, in which case the tests wouldn’t be considered.
However, in more difficult cases, a judge may not be able to determine whether the evidence is inherently unreliable, and it will be up to jurors to decide if the tests can be used as credible evidence.
This means that not every Scottsdale DUI case can dismiss BAC tests from the machine, but defense attorneys can present the flaws of the lab and the machine to the jury, regardless of whether their clients’ tests were erroneous.
In July 2013, the Scottsdale crime lab was the center of controversy when news broke that the equipment used to test blood alcohol levels of those arrested on suspicion of DUI was outdated and defective, resulting in mislabelled and inaccurate data for as many as 50 percent of samples.
The machine is longer in operation, and the Scottsdale DUI cases can proceed in court under this new ruling.