County Sheriff’s Crime Lab receives grant for equipment to help with DUID cases

Example of a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry instrument. Photo by Polimerek – Own work, GFDL,

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Forensic Services Division Crime Laboratory has received a state grant for “Improved Technology for Identification of Impairing Substances in DUID Cases”.

This $207,100 grant will fund the purchase of two new Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) instruments. These instruments will have the ability to routinely identify and quantitate compounds that are commonly encountered in driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) and drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) cases.

The two new GCMS instruments offer increased sensitivity and will be replacing older instrumentation within the Crime Lab. The new instruments will enable the Forensic Services Division to provide analysis in alignment with recommendations set by national organizations for DUID cases.

“The new GCMS instruments will allow the Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab to provide more comprehensive and timely results for the investigation and prosecution of DUID cases in Contra Costa County,” said Forensic Services Chief Pam Hofsass.

On January 1, 2014, changes to driving under the influence laws (Sections 23152 and 23153 of the Vehicle Code) went into effect making it unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a motor vehicle; this not only includes illegal narcotics and stimulants, but also some legal prescriptions, herbs, marijuana and over-the-counter drugs.

The purchase of these instruments and method validation is anticipated to take approximately one year. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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