The problem with the breath test is it’s assumed accuracy. Ask any lawyer who has tried a DUI (driving under the influence) case and tried to convince a jury that the test may not be providing an accurate result. Ask any person who has ever been convicted of DUI and wondered – most of the time out loud – whether that BAC result was skewed. Don’t bother asking most jurors – they operate in a bubble. BAC of .08 or greater and most jurors listen to that nice officer and the laboratory scientist who confirms that the Defendant’s concentration of alcohol was criminal.
The breathalyzer is tough to beat in court. I am not suggesting it can’t be done. It can – but is is tough.
So the news this morning that in Washington DC, four hundred folks were wrongly convicted and half of those went to jail, because the BAC was inaccurate, may give us all pause.
The story from the Washington Post exposes the failures of the machine and it’s guardians – city police officers who were tasked with adjusting the machine to assist with it’s presumed accuracy. They got it wrong and people were wrongly convicted. Could that happen in Boise, Idaho? Absolutely.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance remember that the state’s case depends on their having PROOF that you violated the law. With the breathalyzer there are plenty of areas for a failure of proof. The machine has limits, and so do the folks tasked with ensuring its accuracy. Find a good lawyer and have your DUI case reviewed before you simply accept the "evidence" of your guilt.
And if you drink – don’t drive. That life you save might by your own – or someone you love. A DUI is a very expensive lesson in the obvious.