Loophole Found In Cayman Islands Drunk Driving Law

July 15, 2022

An oversight in the Traffic Law may allow numerous convictions for drunk driving to be reversed. For example, in a recent case, the crown lost its prosecution against an expatriate male in his early 30s for drunk driving.

The police officer tested the man for breath alcohol content using an intoxilyzer, a breath alcohol content 5000 machine, which is standard police practice. However, according to the Traffic Law (2003 revision), the three methods used to test for alcohol limits include a blood test, a urine sample, and blood alcohol content using an alcohol-in-breath machine.

In other words, the law has no accommodation for using breath alcohol with an intoxilyzer 5000 machine.

Consequently, the judge acquitted the man of the offense. Although the crown appealed the acquittal, it withdrew its appeal in March, according to attorney Simon Dickson of Quin & Hampson.

“This was an oversight by the legislature not to include breath alcohol content in the statute,” said Mr. Dickson. “It was an oversight by the police who failed to calibrate their machines for blood alcohol content.”

Mr. Dickson explained that it is standard in the United Kingdom to include all four methods for alcohol limits. Moreover, since measuring breath alcohol content has been used for years, this case could set a precedent for reversing hundreds of drunk driving convictions based on the alcohol content Intoxilyzer 5000 machines. As a result, hundreds of drunk driving cases are before the courts every year.

“But it won’t help people who plead guilty,” he said.

Mr. Dickson understands that since the acquittal, the Royal Cayman Island Police Service (RCIPS) has recalibrated its intoxilyzer machines to measure blood alcohol content, so the traffic law loophole is closed going forward.

It also raises the question of whether there will be another revision in the traffic law, as concerns about drunk driving have increased in recent years.

Source: Cayman Net News

DSA Comments This article has been included here to prompt people in other national and regional jurisdictions to double-check that their relevant ‘breath, blood, or urine’ legislation will not permit another lapse in justice in this manner.