In most states, prosecutors of driving under the influence cases rely heavily on the results of breath alcohol testing to prove their cases. But if the equipment which delivers these results is unreliable, then the evidence in the state's cases isn't worth the paper they're printed on.
That's apparently . Officials in Dodge County discovered that the Datamaster BAC-testing instrument they were using to test suspects for intoxication had not been properly calibrated - for three years. Most of the suspects who were tested had been detained by the county sheriff's office, though a few Nebraska State Patrol cases are also impacted.
An investigation revealed that between August of 2012 and July of this year, more than 180 DUI cases had been processed using the faulty breath testing apparatus. Records indicate that a single employee of the sheriff's office had failed to conduct the appropriate calibration of the Datamaster during those three years. That employee resigned late last month, though it's unclear if criminal charges will be pursued against the former "Datamaster maintenance officer."
But it does mean that those 180-plus cases must now be reexamined to determine if the inaccurate BAC readings formed the sole basis for the DUI convictions. If that is the case, those convictions could be vacated - and the offenders either set free or given a new trial.
The moral of this story? A single person operating a single machine improperly can often be the difference between a DUI conviction and a case dismissal. And an experienced DUI defense attorney knows that - so it's vital that you engage the appropriate counsel if you are arrested for or charged with a DUI.