Appeals Court Rules on Blood-Alcohol Tests

June 27, 2003 - Posted at: 12:34 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Court of Appeals says prosecutors need blood-alcohol test results to prosecute drunken-driving cases.

In a ruling Thursday, the court said that even though a state trooper testified that a driver smelled of alcohol, a driving-while-intoxicated conviction shouldn't stand without the blood-alcohol test evidence.

The decision reverses and dismisses Justin Porter's third DWI conviction. The man was prosecuted after a one-car accident early on the morning of May 20, 2001.

At Porter's trial in Baxter County Circuit Court, the results of two blood-alcohol tests taken at a hospital in Mountain Home were admitted as evidence, the appeals court said.

The first, taken about a half-hour after the accident, showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.0940 percent, while the second, taken two hours later, showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.05 percent. Neither test exceeded the 0.10 percent limit that state law at the time declared proof of intoxication.

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