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Saturday, June 26, 2010

DWI Breath Tests- Over 400 Improper Convictions

Last March I wrote a post about the investigation into faulty breath samples surrounding DWI/DUI arrests in Washington DC. The results are in and according to a  Washington Post article, all 10 breath machines used by the police department gave incorrect results. Breath results were 20% higher than they should of been for those who submitted to a breath test after a DWI/DUI arrest.  Here are some staggering statistics- 400 people were improperly convicted. 1/2 of these people served approximately 5 days in jail!

People often believe these breath machines are technologically perfect. However, these breath machines are calibrated by humans. They are still prone to human error. In DC the mistake occurred when the person calibrating the machines improperly set the baseline level. Do highly trained scientists maintain and calibrate these machines? In North Carolina, the North  Carolina Division of Public Health calibrates all breath machines located in county jails. If you are arrested and taken to Mecklenburg County jail, be assured your breath test machine is being maintained by the Division of Public Health!

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posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


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