Thursday, June 24, 2010

More flawed tests result in wrongful DUI convictions-this time in DC

Test tubes and other recipients in chemistry labImage by Horia Varlan via Flickr

First we told you about the faulty DUI lab test results in Pennsylvania, then Colorado, California, and Indiana. The latest is Washington, D.C., where it was recently reported that hundreds of DUI convictions were based on flawed breath test results. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that since the fall of 2008, nearly 400 people were convicted of DUI based on evidence obtained from the faulty machines, and nearly half of the people convicted were incarcerated. The breath test machines were working improperly because the police calibrated them incorrectly. As explained in the Washington Post article:
The District's badly calibrated equipment would show a driver's blood-alcohol content to be about 20 percent higher than it actually was, Nickles said. All 10 of the breath test machines used by District police were wrong, he said. The problem occurred when the officer in charge of maintaining the machines improperly set the baseline alcohol concentration levels, Nickles said.
One of the difficulties in defending DUI cases is that jurors generally presume that scientific results, obtained from blood tests and breath test machines, are accurate and infallible. The truth is, they're not. In the past we've pointed out instances of flawed lab testing where blood tests were determined to be inaccurate long after people were wrongfully convicted of DUI. Now we learn that, like lab test results, breath test results can be inaccurate due to faulty equipment and human error. Innocent people's lives are turned upside down because of DUI prosecutions and convictions. When DUI prosecutions are based on inaccurate scientific results that could have been prevented if more care had been taken, it's an outrage. These errors aren't simply unfortunate--they're travesties of justice. Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!
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