Hundreds of drunk driving cases across IN could be in jeopardy - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Hundreds of drunk driving cases across IN could be in jeopardy

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INDIANA (WFIE) -

Hundreds of drunken-driving cases across Indiana could be in jeopardy. An Indianapolis attorney is challenging breath tests administered since the first of the year.

Hundreds of suspected drunk drivers are arrested each year in Vanderburgh County alone, so if these breath tests are thrown out, a huge number of cases could be dropped.

"We want our instruments to be spot on. We want them to be accurate," Lt. Same Preston said. Lt. Preston is with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department.

Get caught behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .08 and you may just end up with a DUI.
But what if prosecutors couldn't use the breath test as evidence to show the driver was drunk.

"It's extremely important. I mean, the whole idea of the criminal justice system is to find out what the truth is," Lt. Preston said. 

Now an Indianapolis attorney is claiming the Indiana Department of Toxicology didn't update it's state mandated procedures. So he says certified breath test machines aren't in compliance and shouldn't be used.

"If there was any question of that, obviously those cases could be dismissed so it would really cause a problem in the court systems," Lt. Preston said. 

The challenges could affect every BAC data-master machine in the state, some as far back as July.

"We have several hundred drunk driving cases that occur in the county of Vanderburgh in any given year, so it's a very hard tool for us to live without," Lt. Preston said.

The toxicology department says it disagrees with the argument. Dozens, if not hundreds, of cases could be affected in the Tri-State alone.

But for now, Lt. Preston says the breath tests will continue for drivers breaking the law.

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