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Breathalyzer accuracy can be challenged in DUI cases

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Posted By | June 13 2018 | Criminal Defense, DUI, Field Sobriety Tests, Firm News

If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be quite nervous, especially if this is your first offense.

You took a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content level, but were the results accurate? An incident that occurred in Philadelphia illustrates that the equipment used in such a test is not infallible.

Alerting the police

In July 2016, an attorney notified the Philadelphia Police Department that the calibration for the solution in the breathalyzers they were using had expired. The solution is what establishes that a breathalyzer reading for blood alcohol content level is accurate. The machines were immediately taken offline, the outdated solution was replaced, and the breathalyzers were returned to service the same day.

The effects on DUI cases

The Philadelphia Police Department asked the Office of the District Attorney to review cases for the first half of 2016 in which breathalyzers were used. The attorney who had notified the police of the calibration issue estimated that the outcome of between 500 and 1,000 DUI cases might be affected and the decisions possibly reversed. Defense attorneys could argue that the results of tests given with the expired solution were inadmissible in court.

Blood test concerns

A criminal defense attorney will tell you that blood tests of all kinds can have inaccuracies. For example, in the case of a blood kit sample, questions might involve whether the blood test kit was sterile, whether the lab certification was up to date or whether the blood test kit was used after its expiration date.

Following up

Your criminal defense attorney will examine all the evidence surrounding your arrest and go to work to poke holes in the case the prosecutor intends to make against you. For example, your attorney will want to know if the individual in charge of the breathalyzer test was properly trained and whether the solution in the equipment had expired.

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