State Reinstates Drivers Licenses For People Accused Of DUI

Tuesday, January 10th 2017, 7:31 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The state is reinstating hundreds of drivers licenses for people accused of DUI because of an issue with the "Breathalyzer" machines used for testing  and a court ruling that the results are not legally valid.

Defense Attorney Bruce Edge said Monday was his best day ever.

He got a stack of notices in the mail notifying him that his clients won't have licenses suspended for DUI.

It represents several years worth of cases.

"Every one of them. Everyone that had a breath test," Edge said. 

He said they got 250 yesterday.

It's more fallout from the way the state tests suspected drunk drivers.

The machine that detects alcohol in drivers' breath wasn't properly certified by the state.

The practice continued for years and the lawyers still aren't sure why.

"It's their own rules that they had written, had passed through the legislature and they decided not to abide by them," Edge said. 

The dispute led to a lawsuit by DUI attorneys, which the state appealed, but the court ruled in November.

Now, the Department of Public Safety is reinstating licenses in bulk.

"I'm excited about it," Edge said. "Obviously, I'm excited for our clients, but I'm excited to see the courts uphold the rule of law.  And if you're not going to make the rules apply to both sides, why have the law?"

The decision might impact cases of drivers arrested even now.

The lawyers suspect the testing still isn't being done by the book, and it could result in licenses going back to people even recently stopped for DUI.

News On 6 partner "The Frontier" is also working on this story.

Both the department of public safety and the attorney general's office did not respond to News On 6's calls Tuesday for comment.