Four drunk drivers convicted in Washington, D.C. have recently seen their drunk driving convictions overturned in court due to inaccurate and unreliable breath tests, with a total of $20,000 and attorneys’ fees paid to the group of four. According to The Washington Post, the appeals sprung from an ongoing effort by D.C. police and the Office of the Attorney General to restore reliable breath testing programs to D.C. after it was shown that false breath alcohol content (BAC) results had become commonplace.
Beyond the four drivers who received compensation, there are 16 more claims currently pending due to these D.C. breath test inaccuracies, with six of them currently being offered various payments. The four men have received compensation ranging from $2,000 to $8,000. Case results involving accidents and injuries were not affected, as prosecution for these included blood or urine samples to prove the driver’s BAC.
Washington, D.C. officials revealed in 2010 that miscalibrated breath testers had overstated the BAC of drivers in approximately 400 convictions since 2008. According to officials, the equipment would show BAC levels to be approximately 20 percent higher than they truly were and all 10 breath test machines used by D.C. police were shown to produce inaccurate results. Due to the fact that drunk driving convictions can be based solely on breath tests, these inaccuracies are critical and especially controversial.
Washington, D.C. has purchased $90,000 worth of new equipment since the revelations came to light, but experts have said that a total overhaul is needed to correct the problem. While police wait for reviews and new testing processes to be completed, they are relying on urinalysis instead of breath testing to charge drunk driving suspects.
Facing false drunk driving charges based on police mistakes is unfair to all drivers and the consequences of such charges can result in an innocent defendant facing heavy penalties, jail time, and serious losses in personal and professional relationships. The Washington, D.C. drunk driving defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer understand the need for defendants to have dedicated and successful criminal defense and can provide you with high-quality legal representation. For more information on how we can assist, call us today at (301) 708-0819.