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Judge Voids Breathlyzer DUI Results

January 2, 2013

A judge in the Harrisburg area has ruled that breathlyzer machines used by law enforcement officials to determine the intoxication levels of drivers cannot be considered accurate beyond a blood-alcohol reading of 0.15.

Citing testimony in a D-U-I case in his court in Dauphin County, Judge Lawrence Clark said he is convinced that the breathlyzers are not properly calibrated, and that the calibration process does not follow state regulations.  Clark called results delivered by the machines “extremely questionable.”

Clark voided the breathlyzer result in the case and nineteen others, as well.  For now, the ruling means that, in Dauphin County at least, breathlyzer readings cannot be used to bring about a charge of “D-U-I highest rate,” normally sought against motorists who have B-A-C readings of 0.16 or higher.

The defense attorney in the case that resulted in Clark’s ruling had claimed that seventy percent of sentences issued in “D-U-I highest rate” cases in 2011 relied on breathlyzer evidence.  He added that the ruling brings into question thousands of other D-U-I cases around the state.

In Pennsylvania, a motorist with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 of higher is considered to be driving under the influence.

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