Recently, prosecutors in Santa Clara County dropped charges in several DUI cases because of faulty breathalyzers that were used in field tests. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, county officials conducted a special review of 858 files of which 5 percent or 42 cases were dismissed because a faulty breathalyzer was used. The questionable cases involved drivers who refused to take a second sobriety test at the police station leaving the faulty field test as the main evidence in the case.
The investigation into these cases began a month after prosecutors learned that the Alco Sensor V device that the San Jose and Palo Alto police departments had been using may have incorrect readings because of a manufacturer’s defect that can cause condensation to build up in the tube. In fact, Ventura County officials were the first to learn of the problem in April.
These faulty breathalyzer readings in California have also caused hassles for defendants. One woman, for example, refused to take a plea deal for a lesser charge of reckless driving involving alcohol because, she maintained, she was simply not drunk. Thankfully, her case ended up being dismissed because a test taken at the station showed a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent, which is below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The tests taken with the Alco-Sensor V on the filed showed readings of 0.09 percent. Unfortunately, for many others who may have been victims of these faulty breathalyzers, they have already paid fines and served time.
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, do not plead guilty until you have discussed your case with a reputed California DUI defense lawyer. The experienced drunk driving defense attorneys of Sitkoff & Hanrahan have a successful track record of challenging breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. We have been able to get charges dismissed or lessened using our knowledge and experience. Call us today at 866-430-8383 to find out how we can help you.