The Arizona Republic
January 3, 2002
BLOOD A TRUE MEASURE OF DUI
POLICE FIND TEST RESULTS MORE ACCURATE THAN BREATHALYZER
Judi Villa, The Arizona Republic
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Three East Valley police agencies, including Mesa, have switched to blood tests from breath tests in their crackdown on drunken drivers. Officers say the results are more reliable than breath tests and harder to challenge in court.
Blood and breath tests both determine a person's blood alcohol concentration, and either can be a crucial component of cases against suspected drunken drivers. This holiday season, 3,236 suspected drunken drivers were arrested statewide.
In 2000, nearly 1,400 drunken-driving cases in Phoenix and Glendale were tossed out after judges upheld challenges to the machines.
Craig Penrod, a Tempe attorney who specializes in defending drunken-driving cases, said blood tests are harder but not impossible to dispute. And, regardless of the test results, police have to have a valid reason to stop someone, or any test can be thrown out.
"Oftentimes in their zeal to arrest a lot of DUI people, they'll pull over people they shouldn't be stopping," Penrod said. "And then you have a case."