In case you haven’t heard, DC has some DUI problems. Worse, these problems are not of the drinking and driving variety, but the kind that sends innocent people to jail. According to the Washington Post article, the District of Columbia has had to shell out over $20,000 to people who were charged with violating DUI laws and falsely convicted by faulty breath testing machines. Keep in mind, that is only the first 4 plaintiffs that have challenged the machines. Here is a snippet of the article:
The District will pay a total of $20,000 plus attorneys’ fees to four drivers who challenged their drunken driving convictions because of inaccurate and unreliable breath test results.
Sixteen similar claims are pending in federal and D.C. Superior Court over revelations that errors and tainted court cases had doomed the old testing system.
As the Washington Post article details, there are many, many flaws with DC’s DUI Breath Testing protocols. The administration is reported to have undertaken the initiative to become more efficient in managing drinking and driving matters by following the lead of “breath testing programs in Maryland, Virginia and many other states that give the responsibility [of DUI breath testing equipment] to a forensic science unit.”
What about Maryland DUI breath testing machines?
The Washington Post article does not divulge into the ramifications this matter may have on other states using similar systems. The reality of the situation is that the Maryland DUI breath testing equipment, just like any technology, is susceptible to errors and capable of producing false results. These tests can cost innocent people their freedom and small fortunes without being challenged. Unfortunately, the State’s Attorney is not obligated under Maryland Rules to produce those records unless there is a specific demand made upon the proper custodian of records for that particular breath testing machine.
You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with you (or a bunch of Maryland lawyers)?
Actually, a lot – especially if you have been charged with a Maryland DUI. If you find yourself cited for a Maryland DUI violation, you have a choice in who you select as your lawyer. Few Maryland DUI lawyers demand, in every DUI case, the extended Breath Testing Equipment records. Demanding those records can be the difference between a conviction as opposed to a dismissal or reduction. With those extended records, isn’t it worth the trouble to find the right Maryland lawyer and get the best possible result?