Hundreds of DUI cases in Philadelphia may contain inaccurate evidence and need to be reviewed. The Philadelphia Police Department announced at the end of June that a breathalyzer machine may have been improperly calibrated during 2016.

Many DUI cases are heavily based on the results of breathalyzer tests. Without accurate results, there may be little to no evidence that people are guilty of drunk driving. If you were charged with a DUI this year, contact the Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys of Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 to ensure your case is carefully reviewed.

A Major Development for Hundreds of Cases

Each year the Philadelphia police department must use a bottled solution provided by an outside company to calibrate its breathalyzer machines. In January of this year, the department used an expired bottle of solution on a machine, potentially making months of results inaccurate.

Local Philadelphia attorney Joe Kelly discovered the issue and informed the police department. The department stopped using the machine until it could be properly calibrated with a new bottle of solution.

The police department has asked the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to review all DUI cases that involve a breathalyzer test given between January 17 and June 29.

What Happens to Your Case?

There is no single answer to what will happen to cases that involve a breathalyzer given in Philadelphia this year. Whether these test results will be admissible in court remains questionable. Without the breathalyzer results, some DUI cases may not include any other evidence of impairment, and they may be dismissed. However, a DUI trial can move forward without breathalyzer results if the prosecutor has other evidence of the defendant driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If an individual was already tried or accepted a plea bargain based on a 2016 breathalyzer test, that person may need to seek a new trial.

Not the First Time

The accuracy of breathalyzer tests has been repeatedly questioned, particularly because the accuracy of test results depends on having a properly calibrated machine. These machines don’t work perfectly forever and need consistent maintenance.

The current breathalyzer results problem is not the first time Philadelphia or another city has dealt with faulty equipment. In 2011, Philadelphia found that a miscalibrated breathalyzer machine compromised more than 1,000 DUI cases. The DA’s review of these cases took months and many defendants were allowed to seek new trials.

Contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

The Philadelphia Police Department’s announcement is major news for individuals recently charged or convicted of a DUI. It is possible that current charges could be thrown out for lack of evidence, or some individuals may be awarded a new trial. However, a specific outcome isn’t guaranteed for any of these cases.

If you believe your case may be affected by this news, you should call the attorneys of Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 for a free consultation.

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