Rules Not Followed = Blood Test Thrown Out

Blood draw.jpgThere are rules for blood testing, and they aren’t new. If the prosecution wants to admit a blood test as evidence in an Ohio O.V.I./D.U.I. case, the prosecution has to prove certain procedures were followed for the blood test. A few days ago, an Ohio court of appeals held that the procedures weren’t followed, so the blood test should have been thrown out in Statev. Ragle.

The procedures that must be followed for an Ohio O.V.I./D.U.I. blood test are listed in chapter 3701‑53 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Section 3701-53-05 says “Blood shall be drawn with a sterile dry needle into a vacuum container with a solid anticoagulant….” In the Ragle case, there was no testimony about whether the needle was sterile and dry, and when the nurse was asked if there was an anticoagulant in the container where the blood was stored, she said: “You know, I don’t have any idea what’s in there.”

The Ohio 9th District Court of Appeals concluded that the prosecution did not prove compliance with the rules in Section 3701-53-05. As a result, the court of appeals reversed the defendant’s O.V.I. conviction. This result is not surprising. What’s surprising is that the trial court concluded the blood test was admissible with testimony that “I don’t have any idea” whether the rules were followed.

The Ragle case is a good example of an Ohio D.U.I./O.V.I. case that may seem hopeless for the defendant at the beginning (a blood test result over the limit) but turns out to be problematic for the prosecution. It’s a good reminder that an Ohio D.U.I./O.V.I. lawyer needs to fully investigate cases, file motions to suppress evidence, and litigate those motions to effectively represent clients in Ohio D.U.I./O.V.I. cases.

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