New York judge questions breathalyzers: wrongful DWI convictions

Residents of New York are often arrested for driving drunk. When a man or woman faces a charge of driving while intoxicated, their livelihood can be ruined. For many people facing a DWI charge, their license could be suspended or revoked, their job could be lost, and they could permanently retain a DWI charge on their record. Most people are convicted of a DWI charge as a result of a breathalyzer test that confirms their intoxication. A New York judge is now suggesting that many accused parties could have been wrongfully charged due to faulty breathalyzers used.

The New York Police Department currently uses 28 breathalyzers daily to confirm that a person has been driving drunk. A judge recently ordered that maintenance records for the breathalyzers be provided to avoid wrongful persecutions against those who are suspected of DWI. The judge feels that there is a possibility that people who weren't under the influence could have been charged with DWI.

According to the NYPD, following the judge's orders could interfere with judicial proceedings. Many lawyers are standing behind the judge and believe that providing the maintenance records completely complies with the Freedom of Information law that is in effect already. This law gives citizens of New York the right to any information from the federal government -- especially information that could free an innocent person from a DWI charge.

When a New York resident is accused of DWI, it should be an accurate conviction. There are, on average, tens of thousands of accused drunk drivers in New York, and many of these could have been the victim of a faulty breathalyzer. Access of these government records could prevent many people from going to jail for a crime they did not commit.

People of New York who feel like they have wrongfully been accused of DWI may feel like they are alone. The burden of possibly losing their livelihood and having a DWI charge on their record can become debilitating. It is a feeling no New Yorker should have to endure -- especially if the charge is false. The accused always have the opportunity to appeal any conviction of DWI, to ensure that justice prevails.

Source: nydailynews.com, Judge orders NYPD to release maintenance records on Breathalyzer machines used in DWI stops, Barbara Ross, Oct. 22, 2013

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