Utah Crime Lab and Budget Cuts

The Utah State Crime Lab analyzes all the DUI cases that involve blood draws.  Recently, in the Salt Lake Tribune, there was an article stating that budget cuts may cause cutting lab staff.  If that happens, the lab people in the article say that this could cause turnaround time on blood sample results to slow way down.  Here is the problem.  A person is entitled to a Driver’s license hearing within 29 days of arrest.  If the blood result is not provided within 29 days to the driver’s license hearing officer, there is very little evidence to suspend a person’s driver’s license.  This would benefit the driver, and has done so in the past on cases where the blood results were not ready in time for the hearing.  

The article states:

"That seems to be true throughout the state lab, where 15 to 20 scientists analyze about 15,000 items a year in thousands of cases. Now staff are poised to see how a 15 percent budget cut, which took effect July 1, could lengthen turnaround time. The lab, the main section of which is housed in Salt Lake City with extensions in Ogden and Cedar City, had to close its Price branch and cut three positions statewide.
Lab Director Jay Henry says he’s hoping to get federal funds that would help patch holes at the lab, one of only two state-run labs nationwide accredited under international standards that require regular audits and a dedicated quality assurance manager."

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Posted in .08 Breath/Blood Alcohol Limit

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