WSP begins upgrade of DUI breath test machines in Washington State

A recent Seattle Times article can out confirming what a lot of DUI Attorneys already knew.  The Washington State Patrol has begun rolling out the new breath test machines in Washington State.  Speaking on behalf of the WSP, Trooper Mel Sterkel confirmed 83 of the new Dräger Alcotest 9510 machines will be placed in police and sheriff’s stations, jails and State Patrol divisions in northeast and southeast Washington.

So what does this mean?  Well nothing at the moment.  Until the training begins with law enforcement the machines will just sit in these breath test rooms.  However once the training starts look for these machines to be put in use.  I bet by the middle of next year they will to be used in certain jurisdictions.  Although look for the old breath test machines to be used as well because only law enforcement that have received training on the new breath test machines will be allowed to use them.

I recently attended a CLE on these new breath test machines.  And I have to tell you I think there are going to be some issues when they start getting put to use.  Specifically how they were stored.  From what I hear these machines were just sitting in boxes in a storage unit and forgotten about.  They were really cared for.

Imagine buying a brand new computer and just putting it in your garage and keeping there for several years without ever opening the box.  I don’t know about you but I would have a little concern about whether it was going to work properly.  And I would have a lot of concern if their reliability and accuracy determined a drivers loss of liberty.  To me it is just one more example of the WSP and the State Toxicologist office in Washington State being lazy and careless when it comes to the liberties of Washingtonians.  Keep an eye out for future blog posts on this topic.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  He is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC a DUI law firm located in the heart of downtown Seattle.