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Could your DWI conviction turn on a breath test device issue?

Machinery fails. Equipment ceases to work properly. Your charge of driving while intoxicated may not hold up in court.

Why? Something may have happened to make your breath test inadmissible as evidence.

A breath test device issue arises

In the summer of 2016, a private attorney alerted the Philadelphia Police Department that the calibrations on their breath test devices were out of date. The accuracy of blood alcohol readings depends on the solution used in the instruments, and the date on the solution in the Philadelphia machines had expired. The police took all the testing devices out of service immediately and had them filled with fresh solution. The devices went back on line the same day.

The district attorney becomes involved

The police department informed the district attorney’s office of the calibration matter and asked for a review of all cases involving breath tests from the first six months of the year. The authorities reasoned that because of the expired solution, defense attorneys could say that the tests were not admissible in court. The attorney who brought the breath test device problem to light estimated that the calibration issue could affect 500 to 1,000 cases.

Facing penalties

An accurate BAC reading can lead to a conviction for DWI accompanied by a variety of penalties. These include heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, attendance at alcohol treatment programs, installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and even the possibility of jail time.

A disruptive charge

A charge of DWI can throw your life into turmoil. This kind of mark on your record will show up whenever someone performs a background check on you, whether you are applying for a job, seeking admission to college or even trying to rent a home or apartment. In short, your future is at stake. Your legal defense will include a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, including whether the breath test device police used worked properly. As the incident in Philadelphia proves, an issue such as expired calibration could be present, resulting in dismissed charges.

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Sivin & Miller, LLP Attorneys at Law
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New York, NY 10007

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