• Prosecutors say DUI cases can proceed despite defective blood vials

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    KENT, Wash. - Prosecutors say they intend to pursue drunken driving cases even if they don't have blood tests as evidence.

    This, a day after KIRO 7 learned defective blood vials were used in hundreds of DUI cases across the state.

    State officials now say they have taken nearly all of the recalled blood vials out of the DUI system.

    Prosecutors say they can convict DUI suspects even without this key evidence.

    The news hit prosecutors across the state like a bolt out of the blue. The very real possibility that blood vials collected in DUI cases since last August might be no good.

    "The blood draw is probably your best evidence," said Mark Lindquist, Pierce County prosecutor for 10 years.

    He concedes a blood draw is compelling evidence in an impaired driver case, but it is not all of the evidence.

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    "There are bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the field sobriety tests," Lindquist said. "Officers generally can tell when somebody's drunk."

    Why this is important is that the defective vials were used in DUI cases in at least 20 of the state's 39 counties since last August. The vast majority are in the Puget Sound region, nearly 700 DUI cases across the state.

    And the Bellevue DUI lawyer insists the evidence from those defective vials should be tossed.

    "The judges in the state of Washington and the state should not admit any evidence related to these blood vials into DUI cases," insists John Tymczyszyn. "And all the cases that have already been heard, those convictions may be overturned."

    But Moses Garcia, who provides DUI training for the other prosecutors and law enforcement, says there enough redundancies in the system, that someone would noticed if the defective vials had been used.

    "The more we've learned about this, the more we are very confident that we're going to see very few cases that are compromised, if any," he said.

    That probably won't satisfy defense attorneys. It appears a lot of them are still just learning about this recall.

    Each case will likely come down to what a judge decides.

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