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Investigation finds fault in many DUI breath tests

Some people in Kentucky who are charged with drunk driving could have actually had their blood alcohol content measured on a faulty device, and this could affect the results. According to a large-scale investigation by The New York Times, courts in New Jersey and Massachusetts dismissed more than 30,000 breath tests in a 12-month period because of these types of errors. When the devices are not calibrated correctly, they can return results that say a person's blood alcohol content is up to 40% higher than it really is.

There are several other things that could go wrong with these devices. They could no longer work accurately because they are old. They could be poorly maintained, or there could be errors in their programming. Handheld devices can be particularly vulnerable, and even a substance such as a breath mint can affect the readings they return. The article identified several other problems, including one police force that drilled a hole in the device.

There are a number of repercussions to these inaccuracies in addition to the problem of people being wrongfully convicted. It can also mean that some drunk drivers stay on the road because their cases were thrown out along with those of people who were not drunk.

Being charged with driving under the influence does not mean that a person's only option is to plead guilty, and a person who is in this situation might want to talk to an attorney about the options for DUI defense. This could include looking at whether the person's blood alcohol content was measured correctly. In some cases, it might be possible to get charges reduced by pleading guilty to lesser charges. Legal consequences for a DUI conviction can include jail time and fines. Some people's jobs might also be affected.

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