State v. Baze | MT Supreme Court DUI Case

State v. Baze is a Montana Supreme Court decision on a DUI case and stands for the proposition that a faxed toxicology report containing blood test results was hearsay testimony and could not be admitted under the business records exception found in the Montana Rule of Evidence 803(6).

Recently, I wrote about hearsay evidence in DUI cases in Montana. A brief recap: hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. It is a very broad category covering most things not said in trial. There are many exceptions to hearsay, one being the business records exception at issue in Baze.

At Mr. Baze’s Montana DUI Trial, the State wanted to introduce the results from a blood test performed on Baze on the night in question. But the only copy they had at trial was a fax of the document. The parties agreed that the document was hearsay – it was an out of court statement offered to prove that Baze’s blood alcohol content was higher than the legal limit. They disagreed on whether the report was admissible anyway under the “business records” exception to the hearsay rule.

The Court ruled that the document did not qualify under the business records exception because the rule requires that the entity which created the business record (the toxicology report in this case) must establish that the record was prepared in accordance with its regular and trustworthy business practices. Because no testimony was offered at Mr. Baz’s trial by personnel from the Billings Clinic where the record was generated, it was not admissible.

A good DUI attorney in Montana knows that keeping evidence out is as important as the evidence you get in. Mr. Baze’s attorneys certainly remembered this. If you have questions about what is hearsay in DUI case or questions about your DUI case, please call me today at 406-752-6373 to schedule your free consultation. We can meet in person or simply talk over the phone. Either way its free, so what have you got to lose?

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