Most DUI investigations end with law enforcement asking for an alcohol breath test at the police station. The breath test program in Washington State is strictly regulated because just being accused of DUI can have serious consequences, including being booked into jail, loss of driver’s license, etc. Of course, we all have an interest in making our roadways as safe as possible, but we must also protect individuals from being wrongfully accused of a crime.
A recent court decision from Kitsap County, Washington held that breath tests conducted on the Drager Alcotest 9510, the main breath testing machine in Washington State, could not be used at trial. In legal terms they were suppressed. The Kitsap County District Court judges found the Washington State Patrol, the agency responsible for the state’s breath testing program, violated their own rules for ensuring breath test results are calculated correctly. The details, including the mathematics, are complicated, but the ruling basically says the government must follow their own rules and are not allowed to use invalid breath tests against drivers in court.
The decision from the Kitsap County judges only prohibits breath tests from being used at trial in their county. The ruling does not suppress all breath tests throughout the state. As of the date of this post, there are hearings scheduled in several courts throughout the state, including Spokane, about this same issue. Unless and until a higher court, like the Court of Appeals, makes a ruling that applies statewide, then each judge is free to make their own decision on this issue.
If you have been accused of a DUI or know someone who has, then call Cooney Law Offices today. Our attorneys can discuss your options and including whether this issue might apply to your case. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!