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How Is A Toxicologist Used in a DUI Case?

By Matthew J. Ruff, 2024

A Forensic Toxicologist is an expert who focuses on the quantities and effects of various drugs and poisons on human beings. This type of expert might be used in your DUI case if the state claims you have certain intoxicants in your blood. With most substances the State’s expert cannot tell when the substance was taken. To become a Toxicologist working for a state crime lab, a bachelor’s degree is typically required. Many drugs stay in your system long term for days or longer, and the intoxicating effects may have worn off well before your client ever got into a car. In addition, a toxicologist can testify about the metabolism of alcohol in the human body, specifically how it can result in a "rising blood alcohol" issue which can benefit a client in both the criminal case and at the DMV administrative hearing. Toxicologists are also instrumental in reviewing the procedures used to test both breath and blood samples and to determine whether the correct scientific standards were followed to ensure a reliable result.

Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney Explains DMV Hearings

By Matthew J. Ruff, 2012

Following a DUI arrest a person has 10 days to demand a formal hearing to challenge the basis for a drivers license suspension. The process first involves a written request under Vehicle Code section 13352. A paper trail is essential to create a record of the demand. Most Driver Safety field offices will allow a telephonic request however, without a written demand, a record can be hard to establish down the road that the right was exercised. Along with the hearing assertion, there should also be a request for discovery which includes all written reports, toxicology results, copies of the sworn officer's statement and any supplemental reports written by law enforcement pertaining to the case.

Perhaps the most important additional request should be that of a "stay" of the suspension and a temporary license which will allow the accused to continue to drive pending the action. A hearing should always be in person unless some other strategic reason gives the driver an advantage to be held telephonically. An in person hearing will require that any witnesses called by the DMV will have to drive to the hearing location and permit the attorneys to examine the demeanor of the witness, his body language and any signs of diminished credibility such as nervous behavior or someone reading from a report versus testifying from his own recollection.

The DMV hearing is completely separate from any criminal proceedings filed by the prosecutor for DUI.

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