Blood Sample Dispute in DUI Case

When it comes to proving that someone is driving under the influence, police and prosecutors have a few tests at their disposal. Field tests designed to determine sobriety are typically the first conducted. Breathalyzers are carried by police in order to get a reading of blood-alcohol content. Finally, blood tests can be administered at a hospital or other location to determine if a driver was intoxicated. In a case in California, a trial will continue despite objections by the defense over how a blood sample was handled, the Tribune reports.

Jessica Lea Allred, 24, will proceed to the arraignment portion of her trial, despite arguments from her defense attorney that the blood sample drawn to determine if she was driving under the influence may have been mishandled. Allred is facing felony charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter.

The charges stem from an April 30th, 2016 accident that occurred at about 6:14 p.m. on Highway 58, east of Santa Margarita. Allred’s vehicle crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the vehicle of 56-year-old Denise Fox. Allred broke both ankles and her right leg. Fox succumbed to the injuries caused by the crash.

Allred was found to have a blood-alcohol content of .17, more than twice the legal limit after being taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. The blood test, which was conducted at 7:59 p.m. may have been mishandled according to Allred’s attorney.

Officer Barry Willams testified that he witnessed the blood being drawn after he conducted a field sobriety test while she lay in her hospital bed. Williams took the blood sample, placed it in a paper envelope and placed it in his vehicle. Williams then drove to Raso Robles where the sample was placed into evidence.

Williams reported that while in the hospital during the sobriety test, Allred smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Allred’s attorney argued that the slurred speech may have been a side-effect of pain medication that had been administered by the hospital.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig von Rooyen ruled that there was enough probable cause for the indictment against Allred to proceed.

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