Breathalyzers Return to D.C.

by | Nov 14, 2012

As of the end of September, breathalyzers returned to Washington, D.C. in full force.  Their return comes after technical calibration issues called into question over 400 DUI convictions two years.  The use of breathalyzers was immediately discontinued and the police force, as well as the court system, had to revamp their procedures.  Many of the claims arising from those convictions, however, were eventually dismissed or settled.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued the city a grant for $150,000 to purchase new equipment.  Police officers will now be conducting field sobriety tests, followed by a breathalyzer, during DUI stops.  The implementation of this new equipment coincides with new DUI laws that took effect this summer.  Under these new laws, a first time a offender will now face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, rather than the previous 90 days and $300.  First-time offenders, who have a blood alcohol content of .20 or higher, automatically face a ten day sentence, rather than the previous sentence of 5 days.  Then, for each additional .5 increment an further five days is added to that sentence.  The new DUI laws and the reinstatement of breathalyzers will help protect the many Maryland drivers who are injured in D.C. by  drunk drivers.  Hopefully, far few innocent victims will be injured as a result of these much needed change.

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