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LSP confident in breath test machines for DWI cases despite questions in PA

4 years ago March 23, 2011 Mar 23, 2011 Wednesday, March 23 2011 Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:48:20 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ashley Rodrigue

BATON ROUGE-  More than 1,000 drunk drivers are back on the streets of Philadelphia because of a mistake.  Now authorities in Louisiana are making sure it will not happen here.

In Philadelphia, cases got thrown-out because the Breathalyzer machines were improperly calibrated.

The machines need to be set to return proper readings.  That didn't happen in Pennsylvania, so some people got incorrect charges.  There are a series of tests in Louisiana to keep the machines up-to-date.

Every four months, state police get the almost 250 machines across Louisiana re-certified by technology experts.  But every time the machines are used to test a suspect for DWI, the Intoxilyzers are put through numerous checks to assure accurate results.

State Police say the machine was run 24,000 times last year.

"There's a lot of DWI arrests, a lot of tests run across the state on these machines that's why it's so important to manage the program," said Lt. Doug Cain with State Police.

But despite the issues in the Northeast, State Police here say their confidence in the Breathalyzer test is as strong as ever, just like their standards for the machine.  DWI lawyers say Louisiana is on top of the star witness for DWI cases.

Chase Tettleton said, "That frequent testing means that if there was a problem, it's not going to go unnoticed for more than four months and probably during that four months you're going to have a number of very competent defense attorneys who are going to be raising questions and I'm sure that any time a question is raised, it's going to be corrected pretty quickly by the state police."

Of the 240 machines across the state, 20 are run by local agencies, but all are maintained by State Police.

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