Public Defender Jeff Adachi on Thursday began the first of many possible challenges to driving under the influence convictions, based on the San Francisco Police Department’s failure to properly test its preliminary alcohol screening devices for the past several years.
The department has pulled off the street and is retesting its 20 PAS devices — sometimes used to test drivers’ alcohol consumption in the field, prior to breathalyzer or blood tests. Local prosecutors are no longer using evidence from the devices to prove DUI cases.
Adachi filed a motion Thursday to withdraw one man’s Nov. 7 no-contest plea to misdemeanor DUI. The man was sentenced to five days in jail, three years’ probation and $1,463 in fines, his office said.
Adachi’s office said it had identified about 150 similar recent cases, and plans on prioritizing those cases because of a six-month window to withdraw guilty pleas and ask for review.