South Dakota Extends Pilot DUI Breath Test Program

By Mary Ann

In exchange for being allowed to drive, drivers arrested for DUI in South Dakota will have to take a breath test every morning and evening. South Dakota joins the growing list of states offering harsh choices to drivers repeatedly caught DUI. Under the two-year old pilot “24/7 Sobriety” program, if a driver fails to show up at the police station for any of his breath tests, a warrant for his arrest is issued. He then gets to spend a night in jail.

Lacey Graff was arrested a third time for DUI. She didn’t like the program, but credits it with keeping her sober. Toward the beginning of her participation in the program, Graff failed her breath test twice; she spent two nights in jail.

Hughes County South Dakota sheriff Mike Leidholt says that about 40 people are in the program in his county. Statewide, more than 1,000 people are in the 24/7 Sobriety program.

Attorney General Larry Long believes that the program has been so successful that he has convinced the state legislature to take it statewide. A bill has passed and awaits the governor’s signature. The AG said that “Alcohol drives the criminal justice system. These people come back to us time and time after time.”



New Jersey Study Approves New DUI Breath Test Device

By Mary Ann

A new DUI breath testing machine, the Alcotest 7110, was approved by a committee appointed by New Jersey’s Supreme Court. The Court appointed a retired justice to review the Alcotest after its results were challenged by defense attorneys. Unlike the Breathalyzer, which must be configured by hand, the Alcotest is fully automated and connected to a computer.

The Breathalyzer has been so widely used, since 1954, that DUI breath test devices are generically know as a ‘breathalyzer.’ A DUI breath test device measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath and mathematically converts the alcohol concentration to blood alcohol content (BAC). Every state’s DUI law declares that a driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent is presumptively DUI.

Following a yearlong review, retired Appellate Judge Michael King recommended that the new device should be considered “acceptable for evidentiary breath tests in New Jersey.” King wrote in his report, “indeed, we find the Alcotest 7110 with proper foundational proofs much more scientifically reliable and independent of operator influence, intentional or inadvertent, than the Breathalyzer.”

Many states have replaced Breathalyzers with new devices relying on chemical processes or using infrared light readings