There are numerous problems with the processing of alleged DUI offenders. One of those problems is the length of the current blood alcohol testing process.
When someone is accused of driving under the influence, they must submit to a blood-alcohol test. The results of that test could take months to be returned. While law enforcement and the prosecution wait for the results, the accused individual often waits in jail. Now, the Valdosta Police Department has a solution. They have developed in-house testing that could have results returned in a matter of two weeks.
The police department has been working on the technology and capabilities for in-house testing since 2010. The past eighteen months they’ve spent on training and testing. Now, the lab is ready and blood-alcohol testing can be done in-house. The department is the only local DUI-accredited laboratory in the state of Georgia.
However, while the expedited process is good news for those innocent of DUI charges, there’s also concern that perhaps the process will move too quickly. Prosecutors already work very fast and the system is known for letting innocent people slip through the cracks. One of the benefits of the new in-house testing touted by the prosecution is that fewer cases will be dismissed in court. They must still ensure they are not overly aggressive in seeking wrongful convictions.
“This is certainly good news for those that have been wrongfully accused,” said Justin Spizman of Hawkins Spizman Fortas. “They will spend less time in jail waiting for their innocence to be proven, and will clear their name faster. However, it is crucial the prosecution does not become too overzealous. Each case must be studied objectively, and not with a sole focus of trying more cases.”
When speaking of the new lab, the Valdosta Police Department said they were proud to add it to the laundry list of capabilities the department already has. These include fingerprinting analysis, firearms testing, and crime scene analysis, to name a few. While these are undoubtedly impressive, it is important law enforcement uses them properly and appropriately, so as not to incriminate innocent people.