Hundreds of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test kits in Minnesota were recently voluntarily recalled by their manufacturer for being potentially inaccurate. Needless to say, this is a major incident. It could throw many people’s DWI cases and convictions into confusion. Anybody convicted of DWI by blood test between August, 2018 and approximately June 14, 2019 is advised to have an experienced lawyer give their case a second look, since their results might have been botched or rendered legally invalid.
Criminal defense attorneys see this for what it is: a major mistake that means thousands of DWI cases could be completely discredited. The specific recall applies to blood taken and put into vials made by Becton Dickinson and Company (BD), a massive medical manufacturing company. The vials were recalled by BD because they determined that these tubes may not have had the correct preservatives in them to stop blood from clotting and going bad.
BD made their decision after discovering that various tubes they had manufactured did not have the necessary preservatives to accurately store blood and provide valid BAC results. According to BD this flaw only impacts around 300 tubes of which 200 have been recovered, but the situation is far more problematic, clearly, since any blood taken into potentially faulty kits during the previously mentioned timeframe may be giving inaccurate readings. There is no way to know which of the vials that blood was taken into were compromised, therefore this throws thousands of cases into confusion.
Of course, the company BD is to blame here, but so is the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which should have done random quality-testing of the kits to make sure they were working properly and had the correct preservatives. Generally, taking blood tests is done for very severe DWI cases such as vehicular manslaughter or an incident where a suspected drunk driver seriously injured someone as a result of their driving. Not only does this situation with the botched BAC kits mean that some may have been wrongfully charged or convicted via blood tests, it also means that serious offenders who may be guilty could get away with it and be back on the road. It’s the last thing anyone concerned with public safety wants to see happen.
Sadly, this is far from the first recall BD has done. They recently had to recall a series their SmartSite Syringe Administration Set that was determined by the US FDA to be potentially fatal. BD also recalled 982 million venous blood tubes in 2018 that were intended to test lead levels.
Here’s the bottom line: if you were charged or convicted of a DWI by blood sample between August, 2018 and mid-June, 2019 in the state of Minnesota you may have been wrongfully charged or convicted. Contact our office today to discuss potential representation.