Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses the Role of Toxicologists in DWI Cases

In Harris County, ten years’ worth of DWI cases are being reviewed by District Attorneys in light of questions regarding the qualifications of a lab tech within the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The woman whose qualifications are under scrutiny has resigned her position, but that does not fix the fact that she may have testified in some DWI cases without having the proper credentials to do so.

The problem with the woman’s credentials is that she has testified in at least some cases that she had obtained a different type of master’s degree than the degree that she actually earned. It is unknown how many cases, if any, were affected by the false testimony but that is the reason that so many cases are being reviewed. The review process will help attorneys who represented clients involved in those ten years’ worth of cases to determine whether any of the cases can be challenged.

If you are a DWI defendant, you may wonder why the truth of a toxicologist’s testimony about their degree makes a difference in a DWI case. It matters because telling the truth matters and, perhaps even more importantly because scientific evidence plays a significant role in DWI cases. Because scientific evidence plays a prominent role in DWI cases, it is essential that any expert witness who testifies regarding toxicology reports or any other scientific subject matter know what they are talking about.

In DWI cases, toxicologists present information regarding the results of blood and breath tests. The tests must be performed according to specific methods, which the person who is testifying must understand and be able to explain clearly to the finder of fact. The test results are to be interpreted according to certain guidelines, which are another thing that the expert witness must be aware of and able to describe. Forensic toxicologists are also used in DWI cases to explain the manner in which alcohol behaves in the body. Toxicologists might testify about how a person is likely to act at a particular time after consuming a certain amount of drinks based on their calculations involving the metabolism of alcohol in the body. A toxicology expert might also testify about procedures for administering blood and breath tests in the field, procedures for calibrating breathalyzer machines and other equipment, and other similar issues. Because of the broad spectrum of topics that toxicology expert witnesses testify on, it is easy to see how a misstatement regarding the credentials of any such expert could prove damaging if the “expert” gives the finder of fact incorrect information.

If you have questions about Texas DWI defense law, Texas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you. Whether you are being charged with your first offense or a subsequent offense, we are here to guide you through each step of the DWI case process towards resolution of your matter. Call our office at 214-521-4567 today to find out more.


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