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Philadelphia DUI breathalyzer miscalibration causes a 15 month case review

Philadelphia joins a growing list of jurisdictions that are finding out that DUI breath tests are often inaccurate, improperly maintained, and not properly calibrated.

On March 23, 2011, Philadelphia Police authorities announced that miscalibrated Breathalyzers compromised over 1147 DUI cases.  The District Attorney’s office is conducting a complete review of all affected cases.  The District Attorney is also implementing training on DUI cases for prosecutors that will help prosecutors recognize potential problems and weaknesses of alcohol breath testing devices. The District Attorney’s office will also begin performing calibration tests itself.   Aside from the cost of reviewing these and trying them in the first place on faulty evidence, Philadelphia could face lawsuits from the wrongly convicted who lost their driver’s license, job or had to spend time in jail.  The machines went uncalibrated for 15 months as staff changes and budget cuts eliminated oversight.

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