As we previously reported on this blog, the discovery of faulty breathalyzer devices has forced Santa Clara prosecutors to review hundreds of California drunk driving arrests made by San Jose and Palo Alto law enforcement. Now that prosecutors are midway through their review, they have provided an update of the number of cases that may be impacted.
At this point, Santa Clara County prosecutors have dropped charges in one case and found only a small percentage of others so far that may have to be dismissed or wiped off the driver’s record because of a faulty breathalyzer, the Mercury News reports.
The special review of 858 files is continuing and could turn up more problematic cases than 42 — or 5 percent — identified so far. But attorneys with the county Public Defender’s Office say they don’t expect to see a big increase.
The 42 questionable cases identified so far involve drivers who refused to take a second sobriety test at the police station, leaving the now-suspect field-test result as the main evidence.
The one case that has been dismissed involved a college student. Prosecutors wound up dismissing the charges against the student because the final test taken at the station showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.05, well below the legal limit. Prosecutors had filed the case despite that because two field tests using the defective Alco-Sensor V showed readings of 0.08 and 0.09.
Unfortunately, breathalyzers are subject to a number of problems including accuracy, calibration, and maintenance.
Therefore, if you are arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in California after undergoing chemical testing, it is important to contact an experienced California DUI attorney.