You can fight breathalyzer test results
Failing a breath test is not the final word in your drunk driving case. Police and prosecutors in Brooklyn rely on the machines for convictions. You can beat them.
Courts around the country are throwing out DUI/DWI charges. Judges are citing major problems with the machines and the people who operate them.
Problems with machines
Look no further than New Jersey for examples of the breath machine controversy. The New York Times found faulty machines helped convict more than 13,000 people of drunk driving. An earlier study found “thousands of programming errors” in the machines.
- A judge in Pennsylvania said the reliability of the machines is “extremely questionable.”
- A judicial panel in Florida said breath tests produced “significant and continued anomalies.”
- A state toxicology lab in Vermont said “almost every test” was inaccurate.
- Courts in Massachusetts rejected 29,000 DWI tests used to convict drivers.
Toothpaste, mouthwash, breath mints and hand sanitizer can trick the machines. Even a burp may mean a bad reading.
Problems with people
Humans also play a large role in convicting motorists who are actually sober. Many law enforcement agencies do not have the technical expertise to maintain machines. Some agencies ignore upkeep because they are more interested in convictions than fairness.
Law enforcement agencies make changes to the machines that affect quality control. Sometimes the agencies disable safeguards or falsify calibration testing.
Officers in Massachusetts used a machine with rats nesting inside. Prosecutors in Washington, D.C., decided against alerting 700 convicted drivers about inaccurate test results.
Fighting your problems
The bottom line: You may receive a drunk driving conviction even when you are sober under the law. You face fines, license suspension, higher insurance rates and jail terms.
Your livelihood – and even your freedom – can be at stake in a drunk driving case. Do not accept your fate based on a flawed machine or human being.