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Even more evidence that breath test evidence can be unreliable

May 10th, 2011

There has been so much news lately about faulty breath test machines that it is almost no longer worth reporting. But the fact is that when a flawed device is used to convict so many, this type of news needs to be reported.

Recently, the Santa Clara County, California District Attorney’s Office disclosed that 865 DWI cases (called DUI cases in California) might have to be reversed because of a defect with the breath test machine in use there. Specifically, the concern is that a manufacturer’s defect caused condensation to build up in a tube in the machine that could have led to inaccurate readings. The San Jose Mercurcy News article on that can be accessed here.

This is the latest of several similar stories covered in this blog: A similar problem in Ventura County, California led police to remove 125 breath test machines from service last month, leading to the reversal of an as yet undisclosed number of convictions. Also, in March authorities in Philadelphia disclosed that  faulty equipment could lead to the reversal of 1000 convictions.

Truly, in the law there is nothing more terrible than an innocent person being convicted of a crime – even a relatively minor crime like DWI. The DAs offices and police departments acting responsibly by investigating and correcting these problems deserve to be commended. But how many similar issues go undetected? This is a frightening prospect. As we have written in the past, this issue highlights the need for hiring an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one is arrested for an alcohol related offense such as DUI or DWI. The lawyers at Scheiner Law Group are an excellent choice.

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