At least four recent DUI cases in Haines were reduced to reckless driving or other charges after prosecutors determined police -- who went for months without a working breathalyzer -- misled suspects into thinking they were required by law to submit to a blood test for alcohol content, reports the Chilkat Valley News.
According to state law, a person arrested for driving under the influence is required to submit to a breath test; refusal to submit results in an additional charge on top of the DUI. The refusal law, however, does not apply to blood tests.
“The law requires a person to take a breath test when charged with DUI. So knowing that our breath test machine was not functioning, we just substituted blood test for breath test and then realized that the law doesn’t require a blood test. The law requires specifically a breath test,” said police chief Gary Lowe.
Lowe said he doesn’t know how many individuals were misled into believing they were legally required to provide a blood sample.
“There was more than one, and I don’t know how many, that they were told they had to take a blood test or be cited for refusal,” Lowe said.
Read more at the CVN: DUIs reduced after illegal blood tests: No breathalyzer for 5 months