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Expert Testimony Negates Alcohol Blood Test

Freitas v. Shiomoto (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 294

Joseph Freitas was pulled over for a DUI and in a related DMV proceeding, lost his license to drive. A blood test revealed Freitas’ BAC was 0.23%. The DMV hearing rules require the DMV to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the blood test used was reliable enough to determine Freitas’ BAC appropriately to the purpose of traffic law enforcement.
Frietas’ expert witness, Janine Arvizu, testified that Kern County’s shortcut in administering the blood test made the results scientifically unreliable.
Held: judgment reversed. Kern County did nothing to rebut Arvisu’s testimony, which was sufficient of itself to cast doubt on the blood test results.
Note that the underlying decision removing Freitas’ license was 3 years before this decision. It is likely Freitas finished his criminal probation and had his license restored by the time his appeal was decided.  Thus, Freitas was not ultimately vindicated until the State got what it wanted out of him.