NEWS Updated April 19, 2011

Bad Breath Offends Justice

Recently the Philadelphia Police Department admitted that it was using breathalyzers that failed a calibration test. The calibration test is used to determine whether or not a machine is working properly. Because the machines failed the test, they should have been removed from service. Instead, the police used them and now many people are finding out they were wrongly convicted.

But I do not blame the police for the wrongful convictions. The blame lies at the feet of the criminal defense attorney who did not request and review those documents. That is what I do in every case and how I discovered a problem with one of the breathalyzers.

On October 15, 2010, a judge granted my motion to preclude a breathalyzer test result because the machine failed the calibration test. It took the Police Commissioner and District Attorney five months to come forward and admit the problem. For that they have been commended. However, they do not deserve the praise. They ignored the problem for five months and waited until it happened again before they took any action. And the worst part is, they do not even understand the extent of the problem.

The District Attorneys Office is agreeing that anyone tested on a machine after it failed calibration deserves a new trial. However, even people who were tested BEFORE a machine failed calibration deserve a new trial. That means the number of people who were wrongfully convicted is twice as big as the District Attorney thinks.

If you were affected, you may be entitled to a new trial. If you are given a new trial, odds are that the breathalyzer results will be out. For some cases this means that there will not be enough other evidence to convict. On the cases where there is other evidence to support a conviction, those individuals may not face the enhanced penalties. The difference for a first time offender can be jail versus no jail, license suspension versus no license suspension. For repeat offenders the difference is still significant.

I am filing motions for new trials for people who are affected by these faulty machines. (I have proof that there are four machines that failed the calibration test.) Anyone who is concerned that they were wrongfully convicted may call me to schedule a FREE consultation. My number is 267-217-DUI-7.

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