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Ventura County DUI Convictions Could Be Dismissed Due To Faulty Breathalyzer Tests

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VENTURA (AP) — Ventura County prosecutors say hundreds of drunken driving convictions could be dismissed because of faulty readings on eight handheld alcohol detection devices purchased earlier this year.

The district attorney’s office has sent memos to attorneys involved in cases that included blood-alcohol tests taken on the erratic machines between Jan. 20 and March 31.

The county bought 128 of the Intoximeter Alco-Sensor V devices at $4,800 each.

Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis says a defective mouthpiece caused the irregular readings and manufacturer repairs will take about three months.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Monica Cummins says the machines have no evidentiary value in court, but people may have been convicted or pleaded guilty to drunken driving based on erroneous results.

She says some people will have already served time, paid fines or finished community service.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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