James M. Wagman, Attorney at Law
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How will new car alcohol sensors affect my rights?

Through actions like lowering the allowable blood alcohol concentration, raising fines and other penalties, and mandating consent for breath tests, state and federal lawmakers continue to try to lower the terrifying statistic that 30 people die each day in alcohol-related traffic accidents. While you may agree that this is a noble effort, if you have ever faced accusations of drunk driving, you also know how easy it is to watch your rights go out the window when authorities are zealous in their cause.

Ignition interlock is one of the newer technologies the justice system uses to fight drunk driving. This device attaches to your vehicle's ignition system and prevents it from starting if it detects alcohol when you blow into its mouthpiece. Now, lawmakers are working to pass a law requiring all new vehicles to have similar systems for every driver.

What does the system do?

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety is developing technology that passively reads your BAC before allowing you to start the vehicle. For example, it may register any alcohol on your breath as you breathe normally rather than having you blow into a device. It may instead register blood in the capillaries under your skin when you touch the start button or grip the steering wheel.

Manufacturers and lawmakers want the system to be as passive as possible so you will not even remember it is there until your vehicle won't start. However, there are some glitches they are trying to iron out. For example, how will the device know it is your breath that has alcohol in it and not the breath of your passengers? Additionally, what is the likelihood that the DADSS will make a mistake and lock you out for no reason?

Protecting your rights

Perhaps the biggest questions lawmakers much decide is how will this device affect your rights and whether the information it stores will be used against you if you ever face an arrest for DUI. These and other questions will likely find their resolutions in the courts when people like you fight false charges they face due to faulty or defective technology.

If you are facing drunk driving charges, it is possible that the weight of the evidence against you is a breath test result. A skilled New York attorney will have the resources to evaluate your case from the moment police pulled you over, including the quality and validity of the tests used to measure your blood alcohol level.

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