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FLAWS IN PAS TESTS WIDESPREAD


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3/15/2012
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As I discussed last week in this blog, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office announced that the Police Department has not been checking their preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) devices since at least 2006.  This is a clear violation of California law, and calls in the question all past DUI convictions that relied on PAS device results.

However, as reported by a March 12, 2012 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco may not be alone in this problem.  Philadelphia reported a similar situation last year.  They offered 1,500 DUI defendants new trials, which 70 people took advantage of.  Closer to home, a problem with PAS devices in Santa Clara County put almost 1,000 DUI cases in question.  There, a newer PAS device had problems with condensation building up in the device.  Ventura County had a similar problem.

While the PAS device revelation is potentially good news for people facing DUI charges in San Francisco, it is important to note that the PAS device is only one piece of evidence.  In most cases, there is also an “evidential” post arrest test of either breath or blood.  These tests are not impacted by the recent revelation.  This is why it is important to hire an experienced DUI attorney to assess any possible impact on your case.  If you were convicted of DUI in San Francisco since 2006 it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney to determine if your conviction can be tossed out. 


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