Hundreds of Philly DUI Cases Possibly Compromised Due to Expired Solution Used in Testing of Breathalyzers

Hundreds of DUI cases in Philadelphia could be compromised after an expired solution was used in the testing of the city’s breathalyzer machines.

Local attorney Joe Kelly told NBC10 he discovered Philadelphia Police calibrated their machines on January 17, 2016 using a solution that had already expired four days earlier on January 13. Kelly notified Philadelphia Police Wednesday that the expired solution was used in the testing of the department’s breathalyzer instruments. Police say they immediately removed the instruments from service, tested it with a new solution and then returned them to service.

“Under state guidelines, this test must be conducted annually by the department. Earlier this year our instruments were tested, but due to human error, an expired solution was used during that test,” said Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford in a released statement. “Although the solution was expired, the results calculated properly and accurately for each instrument. While the expired solution appears to have had no impact on the readings calculated by the instruments, the department takes this very seriously.”

Kelly estimates that between January 17 and Wednesday, there have been 500 to 1000 DUI-related cases in the city. Philadelphia Police contacted the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a review of any cases generated during that time frame. 

“There are going to be cases that are going to be thrown out and there are going to be cases that people are going to be convicted of that should be thrown out and people should have the ability to appeal,” said criminal justice attorney Enrique Latoison. “Even if they’ve already served their penalty.”

A similar incident occurred in 2011 when a miscalibrated breathalyzer compromised hundreds of DUI cases in Philadelphia.

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