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New Statistics Show Flawed Breathalyzer Cases

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By Kavitha Cardoza

Almost 400 people have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in the District since 2008, with half of them spending time in jail. But many of those convictions were based on inaccurate results from breath test machines.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles says city police improperly set the baseline alcohol concentration levels. That meant the machines would show a driver's blood-alcohol content to be about 20 percent higher than it was.

The flawed cases were revealed in a review of 1,100 prosecutions between September 2008 and February 2010, and as the Washington Post reports, those prosecutions relied heavily on breath test results.

Nickles says jailed defendants generally served at least five days. His office has begun notifying drivers.

The city has replaced its machines and is developing stricter standards for testing their accuracy.

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