A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to continuously monitor the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of people who have been convicted for driving under the influence (DUI). If the law passes, it would not just be a massive invasion of your privacy – it would also force you to comply with a testing procedure that is notoriously unreliable.
Pennsylvania Senator Proposes DUI Monitoring Law
Pennsylvania senator Tom Killion, a Republican representing Chester and Delaware counties, proposed Senate Bill 773. Nicknamed “Deana's Law” after someone who was killed in a DUI crash, the bill would require people who have been arrested for a third or subsequent DUI offense to wear a Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) device.
While mandating a CAM device is the centerpiece of the law, Senate Bill 773 would also:
- Impound the vehicle used by someone being arrested for a third DUI offense
- Double the required time for having an ignition interlock device for people convicted of a third or subsequent DUI from one year to two years
- Turn jail sentences for people convicted of a third or subsequent DUI from being served concurrently with other sentences to being served consecutively
- Increase the range of potential jail sentences for those convicted of a fourth DUI from 3.5 to 7 years up to 5 to 10 years, and to 10 to 20 years for a fifth DUI conviction
The Problem: Detecting Alcohol in Sweat Doesn't Work
There is a very basic problem with Senate Bill 773, though: Detecting alcohol in sweat is an unreliable and unscientific way of determining whether someone has been drinking.
There is a reason why law enforcement relies on blood, breath, or urine testing when trying to get evidence that someone has been driving while drunk: Samples of breath, blood, or urine all come from inside the body, where environmental factors that could skew the results are minimized.
Sweat, on the other hand, comes from the outside of your body. There, all sorts of environmental factors can corrupt the results and create a false positive. That's why the law does not recognize sweat as an acceptable form of evidence of a DUI crime. It simply isn't reliable enough.
The lawmakers behind Senate Bill 773 seem to understand this – they focus on CAM devices as a way of deterring subsequent DUI offenses, rather than as a reliable way of monitoring someone for alcohol. Senator Killion pointed to the use of CAM devices in York County, where there was a 90% drop in DUI recidivism in the first year of use, as support for saying, “CAM devices work. They effectively deter offenders from consuming alcohol.”
Philadelphia DUI Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
These drawbacks to Senate Bill 773 do not even include the most obvious problems with it: The law would keep someone from drinking because of the potential for them to get in a car and would force people to submit to a criminal search of their own sweat every day for years.
DUI defense Joseph D. Lento knows that these measures go too far. Hopefully, the state lawmakers in Pennsylvania will see it, too.
Call attorney Lento is you have been accused of DUI in Pennsylvania at (215) 535-5353 or contact him online.