Jeffrey F. Rosen, District Attorney  CONTACT PERSON:
James Gibbons-Shapiro
Supervising Deputy District Attorney
(408) 792-2985   For release on May 3, 2011     DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE TAKES CORRECTIVE ACTION ON FAULTY ALCOHOL PRESCREENING DEVICES   When police officers suspect an individual of driving under the influence of alcohol, they often administer field sobriety tests to measure the individual’s mental acuity, physical dexterity, and blood alcohol content. One of the sobriety tests sometimes administered in the field is having the individual blow into an alcohol prescreening device, which then registers the individual’s blood alcohol content.   Today, the District Attorney’s Office learned that one such device, the Alco-Sensor V, sometimes malfunctions. This device has been used by the San Jose Police Department since November 2010 and by the Palo Alto Police Department since April 2010. Those departments have stopped using the recalled devices as of today.   It is noted that these particular in-the-field, handheld devices were not in widespread use throughout Santa Clara County, nor were they the primary device used to determine a suspect’s blood alcohol content.   The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing all cases in which the Alco-Sensor V device was used to make a preliminary assessment of intoxication in the field.   The District Attorney has notified the criminal defense bar of this issue. Once the pertinent cases are identified, the District Attorney’s office will contact the relevant defense attorneys and unrepresented persons. This process is estimated to take at least a month.   # # #   

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