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Lasers the Future of Drunk Driving Detection?

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Jun 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

Given the available technology we have today, it does seem antiquated that police officers ask you to walk a straight line or to touch your nose to determine whether you are drunk. However, there may be laser technology on the horizon that can help police officers more accurately detect drunk drivers, reports Engadget.

The laser currently being developed at a Polish military university would be shot by officers into a suspected drunk driver's car. The laser would include a reflective mirror that would bounce back and pick up any alcohol vapors in the car. The detector would be able to detect whether someone was drunk by the amount of alcohol vapors being bounced back.

Researchers say that the device could detect alcohol concentrations of 0.10 percent. Given that the legal limit to drink and drive in Washington is 0.08 percent, the device would be able to detect drunk individuals, but not those who are barely above the legal limit. In addition to this defect, the blood alcohol detecting laser also would not work if the windows in the suspect's car are open or if the air conditioning is turned on. So it's likely that this laser is still years away from actually being used.

Contact a Seattle DUI Attorney

Authorities have a variety of methods they use to detect a drunk driver. These can include:

  • Eyewitness testimony of erratic or dangerous driving
  • Failed field sobriety tests like the inability to walk a straight line or failing the eye gaze test
  • Strange behavior or smelling of alcohol post-stop
  • An admission or having an open container of alcohol
  • Failed blood alcohol test

You should be aware that you will not be automatically convicted of a DUI in any of the above situations. Instead, prosecutors still bear the burden of proof in showing that you were drunk. Proving this burden can include showing that the alcohol detection device accurately works -- which may be a big problem with the laser detection system.

If you have any questions about a DUI charge in the Seattle area and options for your defense, contact Wolff Criminal Defense by calling 425-284-2000.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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