WENATCHEE — Citing “zero integrity” in Washington’s breath test program, two Wenatchee Valley attorneys are asking local district courts to toss breathalyzer tests in DUI cases.

“For years the state toxicologist and state patrol have claimed the breath test works according to law and design, but that is clearly not true. Instead of correcting errors, they have hid them,” said attorney John Brangwin. “Instead of fixing the machine’s software, they’ve worked around them by lying.”

Breathalyzers measure blood alcohol concentration. Driving with a BAC above .08 is grounds for an arrest for drunken driving.

Brangwin and attorney Jeremy Burke, both of law firm Woods, Brangwin & Bratton, have filed motions in six cases in the district courts of Chelan and Douglas counties to exclude breath evidence from DUI cases.

“The motion is pertinent to every pending DUI case where a breath test was taken and will involve future DUI cases as well,” Brangwin said.

They’ve filed six motions, but expect to file the same motion in more cases.

A similar effort was successful in Kitsap County. On Monday, a panel of four Kitsap County District Court judges published a ruling that prosecutors could no long admit the results of breath tests.

The judges found that the Washington State Patrol laboratory official knew for years the software used by the machine did not comply with state law, according to The Kitsap Sun.

The opinion also held that the state toxicologist submitted false or misleading testimony in tens of thousands of cases that the machines complied with the law, The Sun reported.

“We are seeking the same outcome for those accused of DUI in Chelan and Douglas counties as the Kitsap court held for those accused in Kitsap County,” Burke said.



Pete O'Cain: (509) 664-7152

ocain@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter@peterocain

Reporter

Pete O’Cain is a graduate of Central Washington University, served in the Marines Corps and covers public safety in Chelan and Douglas counties. He also leads The Wenatchee World’s wildfire coverage.

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