Washington DC DUI Lawyer Shawn Sukumar On The Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012

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Shawn Sukumar comments on the new breathalyzer system, and how it might affect the way DUIs are prosecuted in the District of Columbia.

The Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012 was passed by the D.C. Council in early July, and went into effect on August 1st, 2012. Washington D.C. DUI lawyer Shawn Sukumar reacts to the new DUI laws in affect for the District of Columbia, particularly the new breath test system that will be established with the law.

"They’re not just using a new breath testing system," says Mr. Sukumar, "but they are also increasing penalties at the same time. They’re using an experimental system that hasn’t been subject to proper challenge from defense attorneys to make sure that everything is working right. They’ll say until the end of the day that everything is working fine, but look what happened the last time they said that. How many more people are going to be subject to increased penalties which are dependent on breath systems that haven’t been tested out fully yet?"

"What they should have done is test this equipment first," Mr. Sukumar continues, "have them tested by independent parties and defense attorneys. Not the attorney general’s own people, not the MPD’s own people, not people connected to the intoxilyzer industry. If everything checks out, then increase the penalties. Now if it turns out there is another problem with the system, people will be facing even greater jail time. Right now, we have no way to know if the new system will be more effective than the last. The only way that it came out the last time is from a whistle blower, basically. And you can’t always rely on someone to come out and blow the whistle."

There are aspects of the new law that Mr. Sukumar is in favor of, particularly the plan to get rid of urine testing for DUI cases:

"The mandatory incarceration system was such a problem with urine testing, because urine is such an unreliable way of doing the tests. The one thing that I’m glad about is that they are going to be phasing out urine testing, which is the worst possible way to do a DUI case, and independent experts will agree that urine testing is a terrible way to do DUIs."

Another aspect that Mr. Sukumar took issue with is the way in which the law was released to the public. One of the biggest issues, the way that drugs in the system are treated under the new law, is underrepresented in the press releases and information that have been proliferated about the new law. This particular aspect of the law, says Mr. Sukumar, is a great departure from the prior law and deserves more recognition and attention than it has been given by those who have written about it offered.

Shawn Sukumar is Washington DC based criminal lawyer. Please contact us for more information about this law and how it might affect you.

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