Results of blood test deemed admissible despite nearly six-hour delay in drawing blood

Results of blood test deemed admissible despite nearly six-hour delay in drawing blood following the arrest. Morales v. State, No.

04-11-00363-CR (Tex.App.-San Antonio May 9, 2012).

Unlike other cases where retrograde extrapolation testimony has been held to be improper, the expert here did not provide the jury with a definitive BAC at the time of driving. The expert did not express an opinion as to a range of alcohol concentration at the time of driving. In fact, he specifically told the jury that he could not determine defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time of driving. Given the absence of an estimated blood alcohol content at the time of driving, the trial court could have reasonably concluded that the jury was equipped to evaluate the probative force of the blood test result.  Further, the admission of the blood test result did not necessarily encourage the jury to engage in its own crude retrograde extrapolation because, under the impairment definition of intoxication submitted to them, the jury did not need to establish the defendant’s exact blood alcohol concentration at the time that he drove.  The trial court could have reasonably concluded that the probative value of the blood test result was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.

Conclusion: Considering all of the factors involved in the Rule 403 analysis, the trial court could have reasonably concluded that the probative value of the blood test result was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. At worst, the trial court’s decision was within the zone of reasonable disagreement. Given the deference and judicial restraint that must be applied when reviewing a Rule 403 determination, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the blood alcohol test result.

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