Lawyers take 'BAT Van' fight to court

August 12, 2011 11:33:02 AM PDT
The outcome of dozens of DWI cases in Harris County are at stake in a challenge to the police department's so-called 'BAT Vans.'

In the wake of a 13 Undercover investigation, some defense attorneys are now challenging the accuracy of the mobile breath tests designed to catch drunk drivers.

It all began in May of last year when the defendant in a DWI case contacted his lawyer. That defendant didn't believe the results that were obtained by one of HPD's BAT Vans were accurate. The result, .10, was just over the legal limit for DWI, which is .08.

That breath test, according to his lawyers, might not be correct.

13 Undercover's Wayne Dolcefino uncovered records from the BAT Vans that showed problems with the equipment that lawyers say could create false results used to convict innocent people.

Since our 13 Undercover investigation, three technical supervisors at HPD have resigned and now the DA's office is investigating these vans.

If the BAT Vans are found to be faulty, it could affect a significant number of cases, says one attorney.

"I would say there are probably hundreds of cases that will be affected and have been affected," said attorney Dane Johnson. "There are probably people who have pleaded guilty to crimes that they may have or have not committed. It's something that needs to be investigated."

We did contact the DA's office for comment on this story. They declined the interview.


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