The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has received an $185,500 “Sacramento County Forensic Laboratory Impairment Program” grant. The District Attorney’s Laboratory of Forensic Services (LFS) will use these funds to purchase seven new breath alcohol testing devices and an instrument to analyze alcohol (gas) in blood samples. The grant will also fund the scientific support of a criminalist at DUI/Driver’s License (DL) checkpoints conducted within the City of Sacramento.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Breath alcohol devices are used to test the blood alcohol content of drivers at DUI/DL checkpoints throughout Sacramento County. With the breath testing instrument onsite, law enforcement agencies can test drivers and process DUI suspects at the checkpoint rather than transporting the subjects to the jail for analysis. The time between transportation to the jail and the blood alcohol test can be as long as one hour. Because alcohol burns off at a rate of .02 percent per hour, this could be detrimental to the prosecution, particularly if the blood alcohol was .08 percent at the time the driver was stopped. The length of time for transportation to the jail could likely reduce the number of filings and guilty verdicts.
With this grant, a criminalist will provide scientific support at checkpoints in the City of Sacramento. Drivers who have an odor of alcohol, admit to alcohol consumption, or appear to be impaired, will be asked to perform a field sobriety test by an officer.
This grant will also fund the cost of seven new breath alcohol devices to replace seven older devices that are near the end of their lifespan. It will also fund the cost of a new Dual Column Headspace Gas Chromatograph instrument, which is the latest technology in analyzing alcohol (gas) in blood samples and replaces an older instrument that is presently located in the laboratory.
Data collected through this enforcement program will provide information on the prevalence of drivers with alcohol in their system and help shape future impairment programs and legislation to address alcohol-impaired driving.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert states, “This grant allows us to work with our law enforcement partners in an intensive enforcement effort to detect and arrest drivers under the influence of alcohol. This along with accurate, state-of-the-art testing devices will ensure the highest quality analysis of alcohol levels and the successful prosecution of these cases.”
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