Can You Sue for Inaccurate Breathalyzers?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on July 12th, 2006

What if you are wrongly convicted because of an inaccurate breathalyzer: Can you sue the manufacturer, police agency or government?

Inaccurate Breath Testers Prompt Consumer Refunds

Salinas, CA. July 8 – If you’ve been depending on a breath analyzer from Sharper Image to tell you if you’re too drunk to drive, your trust has been misplaced — but you may be in for some money.

Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo announced Friday that his office has reached a settlement with the Sharper Image Corp. for falsely advertising the accuracy of a line of breath analyzers. Under the terms of the settlement, the corporation will pay a $100,000 penalty and reimburse consumers who purchased the devices, a restitution that could amount to $1.2 million…

So what about the breathalyzers used by law enforcement? As I’ve posted numerous times before, the various models of breath testing devices used by law enforcement are clearly unreliable and inaccurate (see "How Breathalyzers Work — and Why They Don’t"). If you can sue for just buying an inaccurate breath testing device, why can’t citizens wrongly convicted and sentenced to jail, fines and license suspensions because of false test results sue the government or manufacturer?


(Thanks for the news article to William C. Head, Esq., of Atlanta.)

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