Order to 'blow hard' gets DUI test thrown out

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - A defense lawyer says a ruling by a Columbia city judge could affect driving under the influence cases across South Carolina.

The judge threw out breath test results because the police officer told the suspect to blow hard into the Datamaster breath analyzer machine.

"The evidence shows that the officer...instructed the accused to 'blow hard,'" wrote Municipal Court Judge J. Steedley Bogan in a March 7 order. "Upon a totality of evidence review, I find that the accuracy, reliability, and/or fairness of the test and testing procedure were compromised by the improper process used to collect the breath sample."

Defense attorney Joe McCulloch says scientists testified that blowing hard can affect test results because the machine is calibrated for an even flow of air.

McCulloch says he hopes police departments around the state will pay attention to the ruling and stop asking suspects to do something that could impact the results of breath tests.

The South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy says it teaches officers to tell suspects to take a breath and blow as long as they can into the machine.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.