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MA Man’s Blood Test from Hospital Admissible in Drunk Driving Trial

MA Man's Blood Test from Hospital Admissible in Drunk Driving Trial

Michael Dube, defendant in a Massachusetts state court proceeding for drunk driving, went to the hospital after being in a car wreck. His blood alcohol level was determined in a blood test done by hospital staff for purely treatment related considerations. Dube was later charged with drunk driving, and the prosecutor intended to present the blood test results at trial. Dube objected, claiming that his confidentiality rights precluded using the test results against him in court. The trial court asked the appellate court for guidance, and the state Supreme Court took the case for consideration.

The Supreme Court considered Sec. 79 of G.L. c. 233, which says that treatment related records are admissible so long as they're not used to establish the person's "liability," without further elaboration. The court found that state appellate courts had correctly allowed such records to be used as evidence of drunk drivers' "culpability" for more than a decade. Therefore, Dube's blood test results were admissible for that purpose. See: Commonwealth v. Dube, 413 Mass. 570 (MA 1992).

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Related legal case

Commonwealth v. Dube