New DPS protocols for analyzing blood alcohol

Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory Service is revising methods used in the analysis of alcohol in biological specimens. Detailed changes are outlined in the attached document and will go into effect November 7, 2016. These changes will affect any cases that are completed after November 7, 2016.

The new methods follow the guidance published by relevant professional organizations such as Society of Forensic Toxicologists / American Academy of Forensic Sciences (SOFT/AAFS) and Scientific Working Group for Forensic Toxicology (SWGTOX). The changes are part of the Crime Laboratory Service’s commitment to continued scientific improvement, and none were initiated due to a complaint or as a result of a nonconformance with accreditation standards. The multipoint calibration curve and single column quantitation have been admissible in Texas courts.

In summary, the methods used by the Texas Department of Public Safety to obtain alcohol levels in biological specimens are being modified effective November 7, 2016. The lab reports will look and read the same as previous lab reports. The current alcohol analysis policies are posted publicly along with all other Crime Laboratory Service procedures on the DPS website.

As always, if questions arise when reviewing any test report, the prosecutor is encouraged to contact the scientist who signed the report. The phone number to reach that individual is contained within the letterhead of the report.