The Washington Post posted an article this week revealing what many defense attorneys already know: the results of breath tests are not always completely accurate. These tiny machines used to potentially send someone to jail can be misread, miscalibrated, and simply dysfunctional.
According to the report, the Washington DC police department had recently pulled several breathalyzer machines. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is quoted as saying “It’s good that we caught it ourselves and pulled these machines immediately.”
The issue in this case seems to be with calibration of the machines. Slight changes within the machines can be all that’s necessary to send someone over the legal limit of .08%. The report suggests that at one time, the department was functioning with 8 out of 10 of their breathalyzers on a defective status.
The Metropolitan Police Department along with the city’s Attorney General’s office are investigating and are said to be issuing a report sometime in coming weeks.
Regardless of where you are, within the metro or in outlying burbs, breathalyzers used in DUI arrests and convictions are far from reliable. Whether police departments recognize it or not, the potential for error is great. Across the country these tools, however, continue to be used often as the main source of evidence in a DUI case.
When arrested for a DUI charge it is crucial you speak with an attorney knowledgeable of the workings of these machines. If the District of Colombia has charged you with a DUI and your breath test results are a big factor in your case, this specific incident in the city could potentially help your case.
Even a first time DUI charge in DC carries up to 90 days in jail. Losing your license for 6 months can be devastating and cause far reaching effects on your family life and your employment.
If you are facing charges of DUI in DC or Maryland, I can help. Contact me today for a consultation on your case.
Two bills before the Maryland legislature seek to expand the legal definitions of “harassment”. As technology evolves, so must the laws and as they stand harassment laws only cover telephone harassment and email.
According to the Washington Examiner, bullying someone via text or on social networking sites like Facebook could soon be against the law. There have been several reports in the media lately about such harassment, supposedly making these laws necessary.
Email was added to the harassment laws back in 1998. According to the statute, however, it only applies to messages sent from one person’s IP address to another’s, which just doesn’t fit posting on networks like Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. Electronic harassment, if the legislation passes, would be applicable to all of these and also contain working banning harassment via text messages.
The penalty for these offenses would also be boosted, punishing it similarly to telephone harassment with a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Like stalking, harassment charges typically happen between two people who know each other. While recent examples in the media have involved high school students, harassment among adults is still quite common.
Oftentimes, the person accused of harassment doesn’t even realize that what they were doing could be considered a criminal offense. Unfortunately, however, ignorance of the law is not a justifiable legal defense.
If you are facing charges of harassment I can help. When accused of putting someone in fear, threatening them, or even stalking them, you can feel like the whole system is set up against you. This is where having an aggressive defense lawyer comes in handy.
Contact me today for a consultation on a Maryland criminal charge.