Hundreds of DUI convictions in Ventura County may be overturned due to faulty Breathalyzers.
California Vehicle Code 23152 provides generally that one may not drive while under the influence of alcohol. 23152(b) provides that one’s blood-alcohol percentage may not lawfully be .08 or greater as measured by a reliable instrument.
The instrument in question, a hand-held Alco-Sensor V, may have systemic problems and will likely lead to the overturning and or dismissal of hundreds of driving under the influence cases in Ventura County alone.
Intomometers, Inc, which is based in Saint Louis, has not commented on the debacle, but some local attorneys are claiming that the county spent hundreds of thousands if not millions on junk analyzers.
There’s harm done here, not only to the falsely charged individuals who were not over the limit, but also to the wasted time and energy of the officers involved, the courtroom staff and the population at large. This also unnecessarily took officers off patrol when processing these individuals, which undoubtedly led to other crimes and harm being suffered. In some cases, these devices were only used as PAS, or preliminary alcohol screening devices, which would have justified an arrest only.
This was discovered after a state-funded study detected the problem. Where else may this have occurred? How many counties in California? Around the country? How many thousands or even tens of thousands of people may have been convinced to plead or been found guilty of DUI based on this instrument and its false claims of “evidence grade results.”
Jurors are taught to trust the results of these machines — that they are accurate and incontrovertable. How do you cross-examine a machine?
If you have entered a guilty or no-contest plea to a DUI, it might be advisable to contact an attorney to research whether the equipment used to test you was one of these devices. Understanding more about your DUI case can help you know what questions to ask of counsel as well.