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Supreme Court Ruling on DUI Cases


The Supreme Court on thursday issued a ruling that a person charged with a DUI has a right to insist that a lab technician testifies in person at a DUI jury trial rather than submitting a written report of the defendants blood alcohol level. The five to four decision reinforces the constitutional requirement that hearsay evidence is not allowed as a defendant has a constitutional right to be confronted with the witnesses against him. The Justices also clarified that any old technician would not do and only the technician who conducted the blood test and certified the results was competent to testify about the results of the test.

Prosecutors from thirty four states had urged the Justices not to make this ruling as crime labs were already overburdened, citing the high cost of securing live witness testimony.

It is not clear how many defendants or DUI defense lawyers will insist on testimony from the lab technician as many will waive the right unless there is something about the manner in which the test was performed that is in dispute. However, this is one of the few rulings in recent years that actually favors the defense in DUI cases. Most decisions in recent times have made it easier to prosecute DUI cases.

If you have any questions concerning this ruling or you wish to consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles, please call Gold & Witham at 562 938 7771.