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DUI defense and the Philadelphia breath test incident
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DUI defense and the Philadelphia breath test incident

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If law enforcement stops you on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the next step may be a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content level.

A defense strategy will include an investigation into the machine used for that breath test.  Machine calibration can pose a problem as an incident with breathalyzers in Philadelphia demonstrated.

What happened

In the summer of 2016, a lawyer notified the Philadelphia Police Department that the calibrations on their breathalyzer machines had expired. The police had to send every machine out for updating. This involved replacing the solution that establishes accuracy in breath test readings. Once provided with a fresh solution recalibration was complete, and the Department returned the machines to service.

Why it mattered

The police department notified the Office of the District Attorney about the calibration issue. The concern was that the expired solution could affect the outcome of hundreds of DUI cases from the first half of the year. Attorneys could go to court and argue that the results of breath tests administered during that period were not admissible as evidence in those cases.

How to proceed

If you are facing DUI charges, remember that a DUI mark on your record can follow you for years. It may make finding a good job more difficult. It will likely drive up the rate you pay for auto insurance. With legal guidance, you can challenge the charges against you. Administrative mistakes can happen during an arrest. And, as the Philadelphia incident showed, equipment issues can compromise test results. An effective defense strategy will focus on protecting your rights and obtaining the best outcome possible for your case.