Courts & Crime

Calibration error puts DUI tests across Alaska in doubt

Nearly 2,500 breath-alcohol tests conducted in drunken-driving cases across the state over a period of nearly four years used equipment with flawed quality control standards, which some defense attorneys say call into question the accuracy of the tests themselves.

At least one attorney is preparing to challenge his client's conviction based on the new information, arguing the mistake means the breath test that played a central role in his client's case can't be trusted.

State officials acknowledge the error but say it did not affect the breath-alcohol level DUI suspects blew, only the quality-control checks that accompany every test. Only two of the cases involving the equipment may have been affected by the error and they are under review by the Department of Law, according to state officials.

But while the breath-alcohol content levels may not have been affected, some attorneys say problems with the instruments' quality testing could raise doubts about the accuracy of the BAC results.

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