Houston criminal defense attorney, Joseph Ruiz, recently completed an intensive program hosted by the American Chemical Society (ACS) – CHAL Division, where he earned the designation of a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, the highest form of scientific recognition available for lawyers; a recognition that only less than a hundred lawyers nationwide have earned. His primary goal for pursuing this designation was so that he could learn more about blood testing to be better prepared to defend his DWI clients and cases.
A Forensic Lawyer-Scientist is a highly specialized attorney who possesses a strong understanding of various scientific disciplines such as biology, chromatography, toxicology, and forensic science. This unique combination of legal expertise and scientific knowledge allows them to effectively utilize scientific principles in legal proceedings, giving them an edge when it comes to analyzing and presenting evidence in court.
Becoming a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist is not a simple task that can be achieved through mere curiosity or reading articles online. In fact, this designation is relatively rare in the legal field, with fewer than 100 lawyers in the United States holding this esteemed title.
The American Chemical Society (ACS), the largest scientific association globally, has established the forensic chromatography program under its Chemistry and Law Division. This initiative aims to ensure justice by empowering lawyers to challenge flawed scientific evidence presented in courtrooms.
To become a qualified Lawyer-Scientist, individuals must not only undertake comprehensive independent studies but also successfully complete a series of ACS courses, often taking them twice. Additionally, maintaining a reputable standing with the bar association and active participation in the ACS-Chemistry and the Law Division is necessary to stay updated on the latest advancements in scientific research. This stringent process ensures that only individuals with a genuine commitment to both the law and science can earn the title of Lawyer-Scientist.
Forensic scientists are usually called upon during courtroom proceedings involving toxicology. This becomes particularly significant in cases such as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), where the results of blood or breath tests form the cornerstone of the prosecution’s evidence.
However, questions may arise regarding the credibility of these scientific findings. Concerns about potential falsification or errors in scientific procedures arise, especially considering the pressure faced by law enforcement agencies to increase arrest rates. To bridge this gap and ensure fairness, a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist can play a pivotal role in leveling the playing field.
Engaging a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist becomes essential in various situations, including when the results of blood or breath tests are being presented as evidence. These professionals possess the expertise to identify potential issues such as ethanol contamination, carry-over, or miscalculations in retrograde extrapolation. Furthermore, Lawyer-Scientists can pinpoint any deviations from proper procedure, including inadequate timing, methods, or breaks in the chain of custody, thereby establishing the connection between a suspect and the presented results.
Similarly, Lawyer-Scientists offer valuable insights when it comes to evaluating the validity of standardized field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand test, walk and turn test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests have been criticized for relying on outdated and scientifically flawed methodologies, often leading to inaccurate conclusions. With the expertise of a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, individuals can challenge these questionable practices and expose their potential inaccuracies.
In many criminal cases, scientific evidence plays a pivotal role in determining the outcome. Whether it involves DNA samples, blood alcohol content tests, or narcotic chemical composition tests, the absence of an ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist to scrutinize the evidence can leave room for flawed investigations or unreliable findings to sway the proceedings.
Therefore, enlisting the services of a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist is crucial in safeguarding against the use of pseudoscience or substandard police work. By employing their expertise, individuals can ensure that the truth behind their arrest is properly evaluated and presented in court. If you find yourself entangled in legal proceedings for a DWI charge, it is advisable to consult a seasoned Forensic Lawyer-Scientist like Joseph Ruiz to provide a robust defense for your case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, call attorney Joseph Ruiz at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, today at (713) 844-8552 for a consultation.