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A look at DWI breathalyzer accuracy concerns, Part 2

How upset would you be if you were convicted on a criminal charge of driving while intoxicated in Texas, notwithstanding your certainty that you were nowhere near the legal limit for drunk driving?

That's a loaded question, we know, and any reasonable person can well anticipate the answer: You'd be furious. Moreover, you would likely lose a bit of faith in the American legal system, which would be unfortunate.

Sadly, though, and as we stressed in a recent blog post, such a scenario is far more a reality than a hypothetical in Texas and across the country. Our May 15 entry duly notes that, "Problems with breathalyzers (sometimes called Intoxilyzers) arise more often than many people think, and have obviously huge implications for America's criminal justice system."

Increasing national media attention focused upon research evidence that calls into question breathalyzer calibration and accuracy readily confirms that assertion. And it underscores just how serious and widespread the problems can be with the technology used by law enforcers to make arrests and secure criminal convictions.

Our Texas readers might be interested in the preliminary research findings presented by a team of scientific experts last summer at a national meeting of DWI defense attorneys. The report housing their conclusions was commissioned following challenges to the Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer. That machine is used in states all across the country and plays a central role in millions of DWI arrests.

The researchers' core finding resulting from their probe into the machine's software source code is that the 9510 is a problematic device. They point to its "defective design," stating that multiple issues with the underlying software make them "skeptical" that the breathalyzer can consistently produce accurate blood-alcohol content readouts. They stress that Alcotest 9510 BAC conclusions be looked at "with extreme caution."

Subjectivity and contested findings can play a huge role in a DWI matter. A proven defense attorney will ensure that a client's legal rights are fully protected and aggressively promoted in any drinking-related encounter with criminal authorities.

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