So many DWI arrests in North Carolina involve blood draws. A blood draw might happen because a drug other than alcohol is suspected of causing impairment. Or because the person refuses to blow into a machine, and a warrant is taken out for a blood draw. Or the person has been involved in accident and is unable to blow into an Intox EC/IR II machine.
In these cases, the blood is sent off to the State Bureau of Investigation crime lab. The lab has had numerous problems over the years, culminating in the 2010 exoneration of Greg Taylor and the subsequent investigation it bad practices and poor quality science.
Now WRAL reports that the SBI is both understaffed and underfunded, but also has been affected by Massachusetts vs. Melendez-Diaz, a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that holds that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment requires that the prosecution bring the chemical analyst to court if it wants to introduce the results of an analysis. This means that lab analysts must appear more frequently in court.
Because of this, many DWI cases are languishing, waiting for the blood results to be returned from a poorly equipped and funded crime lab