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In a recent article by Jeremiah Dobruck in the Press-Telegram, a breathalyzer used in Long Beach, California, which had been found by police to be “faulty,” was kept in service. According to the article: “Because of an oversight earlier this year, Long Beach police officers were allowed to keep using a malfunctioning DUI screening device for more than a month after a technician determined it was unreliable, according to the department.”

Unbelievably, the breathalyzer was “used  twice in roadside investigations after it should have been decommissioned.” One of the people it was used on pled guilty to DUI. The other, a city council woman, tested below the legal limit on the device and the State declined to press charges because the device should not have been in service.

The most disturbing statement by law enforcement in the article is this: “Police said they don’t believe either case would’ve turned out differently if the screening device were functioning properly.” What?! Are you SERIOUS?! You’re telling me the person who pled guilty based, in part, on the “results” spit out by the machine still would have done so if he or she or their attorney would have known it shouldn’t have been being used? That is outrageous.

Apparently, the woman who pled guilty also had a blood test to measure her blood alcohol content (BAC) based on California law.. If you “blow” in Idaho, there is no requirement for a confirmatory blood test. The woman’s attorney said he doubted the case would have turned out differently because of the blood test. If it happened in Idaho, I can’t say the same; in other words, the outcome may have been very different.

A DUI is a serious charge that comes with serious consequences. The police should be held to a standard consummate with the charges. Your attorney also needs to know what he or she is doing. It shouldn’t have been left up to law enforcement to discover their “error.”