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Attorney challenges police department on breath test accuracy

An attorney is seeking to have at least 30 DUI cases thrown out of a local court due to inaccurate breath test readings that were used to convict the suspects. A two judge panel has heard the evidence and will soon make a determination.

Challenging a large number of breath tests results is not unheard of, since an improperly calibrated device can cause inaccurate readings for many defendants before it is discovered. In this case, the attorney pursuing the challenge says that the issue is that police did not test the flow sensor component regularly and therefore had been administering inconsistent breath tests to DUI suspects.

The attorney also says that the same device, the Intoxilyzer 8000, produced breath tests results that were thrown out in a different local court last year.

Although this case is taking place in Florida, the lessons ring true for Michigan DUI defendants as well. When facing DUI charges, it is crucial to examine all of the evidence presented against you. Evidence gathered by police and submitted to the court is not always accurate and may have been obtained in an illegal way, and therefore should not be taken as necessarily true.

During the hearing on this issue, the official in charge of overseeing the breath test system told the court that a certain amount of air was required to obtain a reliable sample, but that the level of air was not necessary to achieve a reliable test. The distinction between having a scientifically reliable sample and having an accurate test result is unclear, since one would think that a reliable sample would be a prerequisite to declaring the results to be accurate.

Source: ABC News, "Attorney wants breathalyzer tests thrown out of 30 DUI cases," James Jackson, Oct. 12, 2012.

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