Nebraska Criminal & Trial Lawyers
Problem Identified with Breath Test Equipment Certification

Problem Identified with Breath Test Equipment Certification

People in Nebraska who are questioned by police and eventually charged with a drunk driving offense are commonly asked to provide a breath sample. This sample is used to determine the amount of alcohol in a person's system. This may also be determined by taking a blood sample but doing so during a drunk driving investigation now requires a search warrant per a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only breath samples collected at jails or detox facilities are able to be used against defendants in court by prosecutors. Recently, it was discovered that the person who reportedly signed a calibration certification for a breath test unit never actually performed the tests that were required. This has called into question the overall ability to rely on data from these units if they are not actually being calibrated properly or tested appropriately.

For the time being, at least Lancaster County has stopped using these units and is instead taking blood samples from people suspected of driving drunk. Other counties may follow suit. While the situation is reviewed, the ramifications for people who have already been charged with driving under the influence based on breath tests may also be investigated.

Anyone who is facing a DUI charge in Nebraska might want to discuss their defense options with a lawyer to understand if their case may be impacted by the potential inaccuracy of the police breath test equipment.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Breath-test issue prompts questions about DUIs in Lincoln, elsewhere in Nebraska," Riley Johnson, April 24, 2018

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