Report Finds Issues With Breath Test Devices – MDCLC

Kimberly2 1Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

​Missouri residents may be charged with drunk driving based on the results provided by a flawed breath test machine. That was the main takeaway of a report published by the New York Times. The New York Times report was based on a broader survey that examined the accuracy of these machines across the nation. In Massachusetts, 36,000 cases were thrown over a period of 12 months because of a myriad of problems with evidence gathered by breath test devices.

As these machines get older, they have a harder time rendering an accurate reading. If they are not properly calibrated, maintained and programmed, they can also be vulnerable to improper results. The study that was used in the New York Times piece found that a device that wasn’t properly calibrated could produce a result 40% higher than a driver’s actual blood alcohol content.

Reporters from the newspaper also interviewed scientists, police officers and others to support its findings. The reporters also went through court documents and other papers to confirm that breath test results may not be as accurate as they need to be. Improper results may cause a driver to be taken into custody despite not being legally intoxicated. They could also result in drunk drivers getting their cases thrown out because the evidence isn’t deemed reliable enough to obtain a valid conviction.

Those who are charged with DWI will likely have the opportunity to hire an attorney to help get the charge reduced or dismissed completely. An attorney may be able to cast doubt on the results of a breath test or any other tests conducted prior to taking a person into custody. Legal counsel may also assert that there was no probable cause to conduct the traffic stop that led an individual to be charged with drunk driving.

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