During a trial the government needs to prove each and every element of
a crime. In cases such as petit larceny, assault, weapons possession,
driving with a suspended license (AUO) (511(1)(a)) and other similar crimes
a lab report is not needed. But in cases such as
DWI, DWAI, DWAI drugs and drug cases such as criminal possession of a controlled
substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance a lab report will
be needed to be introduced at sometime during the trial.
District Attorneys have relied on certified records to introduce certain
lab reports in DWI, DWAI, DWAI drugs and other drug cases instead of having
the actual lab analyst testify. This seems to be changing with the most
recent US Supreme Court case as outlined below.
Lab Reports at Trial in DWI, DWAI, DWAI Drug and Drug Cases
At trial for an offense involving any Laboratory Report (usually a drug,
DWI or gun charge case) the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment
requires a criminal accused to be confronted with the testimony of lab analysts.
The United States Supreme Court in Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts, 129 S
Ct 2527, held that a lab analyst’s certificate is testimonial and
can not be admitted unless the analyst was unavailable to testify at trial
and the accused had a prior opportunity to cross-examine the analyst.
DWI Blood/Breath Test Lab Reports
In Nassau County after a DWI trial the court sustained the defendant’s
objection to the admission of the calibration log of the breathalyzer
machine used to test his blood alcohol level as a certified business record
and required the prosecution to present live testimony from the lab technicians
who preformed the calibration.
The best criminal defense is one that holds the government to their burden
on each and every element of the crime. This is especially true of DWI,
DWAI, DWAI Drug and other Controlled Substance cases where a lab report
is necessary. In Westchester, Rockland, Bronx, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess
counties the government will have their own report usually from the County
Department of Lab and Research. These lab reports must be attacked for
their accuracy. This additional requirement that the government bring
the actual analyst into court is helpful to the experienced criminal defense
attorney and the accused since it opens the door to in depth cross examination.
White Plains City Court Criminal Defense
In the City Court of White Plains there has been an increase use by the
department of labs and research in Westchester County of “preliminary”
lab reports to support DWI, DWAI, DWAI Drug and other
drug charges. These lab reports are the very reports that need to be scrutinized for
their accuracy and demanding the actual lab analyst to testify will help any
Southeast DWI Criminal Defense
Likewise, for any criminal defense for a DWI, DWAI, DWAI drug charge in
busy DWI courts such as the Town of Southeast in Putnam County (Brewster).
These lab reports must be scrutinized as they usually are the prosecutions
strongest form of evidence.