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D.C. police using faulty breathalyzer tests

For nearly a decade, two Washington, D.C., police officers have been waging war with the city's residents, focusing on stopping and arresting people under suspicion for drunk driving. The two even carved out their own drunk driving niche within the Metropolitan Police Department. Patrolling the streets of the nation's capital, the duo has reportedly busted hundreds of alleged drunk drivers.

Recent findings, however, poke holes in the credibility of those arrests. These two police officers might be responsible for putting several innocent people behind bars and wrongly convicting them. In February 2010, word got out that the breathalyzer tests the police department and these two specific officers were using had been incorrectly calibrated. It is unknown how the calibration error was discovered or why it took so long to be corrected.

The problem was so severe that the two officers and some of their colleagues did not deny the possibility that they had arrested people after incorrectly determining they were intoxicated. Faulty breathalyzers could have a dire effect on the convictions of many so-called drunk drivers.

When the two cops and a co-worker came clean about the egregious error, their superiors attempted to silence them and cover up the findings. It seems that the Metropolitan Police Department would rather have arrested and convicted innocent people rather than admit to making so many mistakes. Although the two officers were ready to admit their mistakes, it is unclear how the faulty breathalyzer results will be retroactively applied to the numerous people who may have been wrongly punished.

Source: The Washington Examiner, "D.C. punishes cops who arrested drunk drivers," Harry Jaffe, Sept. 8, 2011

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013