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Justice is subverted when police testing equipment is inaccurate

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2014 | DUI

Let’s talk breathalyzers.

If you’ve ever been arrested for drunk driving, you almost certainly know what those are. If you haven’t, you perhaps still have a strong inkling of what their purpose is and how they are used.

Are they uniformly accurate?

That is far from being a purely rhetorical question posed for some remote academic reason. Given that breathalyzers provide evidence that is centrally relevant to a drunk driving stop and serve as key catalysts in the convictions of many thousands of people each year, questioning — and insisting upon — their accuracy hardly seems an unreasonable focus.

And, truth be told, ample evidence has emerged over many years to flatly refute the arguments of police officials and prosecutors in Florida and nationally that breathalyzer machines are uniformly and unerringly accurate.

In fact, they can be wildly off the mark. And when they are, innocent people suffer greatly.

We underscored that sad reality in an article on our website discussing the fallibility of breathalyzers, noting one particularly egregious case in which a number of testing machines in a large city were found to be clearly miscalibrated.

Unfortunately, police officers owned up to that only after thousands of persons had been arrested on drunk driving charges. Ultimately, it turned out that individuals in about 1,460 instances were entitled to a new trial.

Hopefully, that is more of an anomaly than a commonplace, although, frankly, it is hard to tell. Stories from across the country regarding wrongly calibrated machines surface with some regularity. Additionally, testing officers are sometimes improperly trained — or lack any training at all — in using the machines and administering breath tests.

Experienced DUI defense attorneys know this and understand that a close investigation of a drunk driving stop and arrest where a breathalyzer featured is often warranted.

In fact, such a probe can sometimes reverse a conviction or otherwise greatly mitigate the consequences of a DUI arrest

A proven Florida drunk driving defense lawyer can respond to any breathalyzer-related concerns or other issues concerning a DUI stop.



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