R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Flaws in Houston DWI testing could affect drunk driving charges

Getting pulled over and asked to submit to field sobriety testing can be extremely embarrassing. Now, those who conduct DWI testing in Houston are under investigation themselves, which could affect some previous drunk driving charges. A grand jury is investigating the use of BAT vans by the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney.

The investigation will look into flaws in equipment used in these alcohol testing vans that are called to suspected drunk driving incidents. An independent undercover investigation by a local TV station program, 13 Undercover, revealed emails that suggested the vans had maintenance problems that could have possibly affected the testing of suspects. If these flaws are found to have caused errors in certain cases, the people accused of the DWI in that case should have a right to understand what flaws occurred and could possibly fight to overturn a conviction.

The Houston Police Department allegedly said they didn't feel they needed to share the emails with the district attorney who prosecutes drunk driving incidents in Houston. This negligent behavior by the authorities could have resulted in unfair DWI convictions. These convictions have sometimes devastating professional and family life implications. They also can lead to unnecessary legal fees and fines.

Because the testing equipment may have not worked properly, the authorities using the equipment should be held accountable. They should not be able to prosecute people using faulty equipment, and withholding those concerns from the person defending their record could be illegal. People who may have been subjected to faulty DWI testing equipment would be wise to seek the advice of an experienced DWI attorney.

Source: KTRK, "DA Lykos subpoenaed to testify before grand jury," Tom Abrahams, Jan. 6, 2012

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