While it is completely voluntary to submit yourself to undergoing a breathalyzer test, and you become compelled to do so after you have been taken into police custody, it’s been debated that breathalyzers can make mistakes, which a reliable Kent DUI attorney can raise in the trial. Mistakes in this case can range from faulty equipment to human error, such as mistakes by a breathalyzer operator, as exemplified in Jefferson County recently.
The Courier-Journal has reported that about 70 DUI cases are to be reviewed and possibly amended after discovering that a breathalyzer operator has tampered with his official reports:
A jail video shows that after Louisville Metro Police Officer Kyle Meany arrested Jorge Cejay, 27, Feb. 27 on a suspicion of drunk driving, Meany told Rehm the case would probably be dismissed because of a lack of evidence.
Meany had been unable to administer most of the field sobriety test on Cejay because he didn’t understand English, and Cejay refused to take the Breathalyzer test.
According to the video, Rehm responded, “Yeah, I don’t have much as far as observation either. I didn’t smell any alcohol.”
But when he prepared his official report, Rehm wrote that Cejay “had odor of alcoholic beverages emitting from his breath and a “slight uneven gate.”
When Cejay’s case was called Oct. 8 in Jefferson District Court, his lawyer, Jeffrey McClain, showed the video to Assistant County Attorney Roger Cooper, who amended the drunk driving charge to reckless driving.
In another instance in 2012 in San Francisco, numerous drunk driving cases had to be reviewed and amended after discovering that the police had not tested their breathalyzers. Other courts in states, such as Ohio discredited the use of breathalyzers, saying that these machines have been scientifically unreliable, due to the fact that its results can be easily altered by heat and humidity.
Even the National Motorists Association has discredited breathalyzers, saying that the instrument’s results do not actually represent the blood alcohol content and has a 50% margin of error. What happened in Jefferson County, however, was an example of how even breathalyzer operators can tamper with the results for the sake of continuing the case, even when the accused is likely to be innocent.
While undergoing a breathalyzer exam is voluntary, most courts accept its results as evidence for drunk driving, and the accepted levels vary from different states. Breathalyzers, however, are not always accurate for it is prone to mechanical error, or misreading when handled carelessly by a human operator. DUI charges can be highly aggravating, especially when there are clear mitigating circumstances, if not outright mistakes, in the charges. Make sure to consult with a trustworthy Kent DUI defense lawyer like Atty. Kim E. Hunter who can analyze your case, and advice you where the charges can be reduced, if not outright dismissed, if proven to be totally unfounded.
(Source: About 70 DUI cases could be thrown out, The Courier-Journal, November 24, 2014)