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.